CVC Spelling Tray Activity

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Reading CVC words fluently is a big step for an early reader. We spend lots of time in Kindergarten sounding out letters individually and finally putting them together to form a full word. For a fun, hands-on activity to strengthen fluency skills, try this super simple CVC Spelling Tray Activity.

*Pair this with our CVC Word Family Phonics Poems for Early Learners!

For a fun, hands-on activity to strengthen fluency skills, try this super simple CVC Spelling Tray Activity for early readers!

CVC Spelling Tray Activity

This activity is low-prep and makes the perfect effective and interactive literacy center. It’s also great for using in small groups. To start, gather just a few simple supplies you may already have on hand!


Teacher Tip: If you don’t have a tray with separate compartments, you can use a normal tray/large plate and tape to make your own. Simply use the tape to divide the tray/plate with 3 blocks at the top and one big block below.

Grab some flashcards, a tray, and letter manipulatives for a simple hands-on CVC word activity.

How to Play

This CVC Spelling Tray works great as a guided activity in small groups. Begin by asking the students which sound comes first, then which vowel they hear, and lastly which sound comes last (segmenting). Add the letters to the compartments as the students sound them out. Then, put the 3 sounds together to read the word aloud (blending).

I added stickers to the compartments because some of my students struggle with starting the words on the correct side. We call this the traffic light method: start at green and stop at red. It’s simple and effective!

Stickers in the tray compartments signal where to start the word on green, and where to end it, on red.

As an extra challenge, you could work on phoneme manipulation by asking the students to change the first sound and share what new CVC word they have created.

When using this spelling tray activity as an independent literacy center, students will flip through the flashcards and spell the words on their own.

I use simple CVC word cards on a key ring for students to flip through and spell with their letter manipulatives.

This simple CVC Spelling Tray activity is perfect for students that need extra spelling practice in a hands-on way!

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    1. Hi Kristin,
      If you search Amazon, you can find a similar tray by using the search term, “plastic compartment tray.” Hope that helps!

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