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How to Teach Vowels to ESL Children

I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.

What is the best way to teach vowels to ESL children?

What is the best way to teach vowels to ESL children?

Make Learning Fun

Teaching phonics to very young children can be cumbersome, but not when you make teaching fun for the little ones. Fun teaching is good in that the children will think that they are just playing instead of learning. When children think of learning as playing, they learn things easier and their retention is better.

Look at all the toys around them. They are just toys, but within those toys are hidden educational values the kids learn as they play every day.

The same is true when you teach children. Most young children do not like forced learning. They love it if you make learning fun, just like what they do when they play with their toys. Teaching phonics can also be fun; it should not be a burden to young children.

Teaching Vowels

Let’s start with how to teach vowels to young children.

The vowels are a, e, i, o, and u.

I always start teaching the letter a, followed by e, then i, then o, then u. That way the children will not be confused. I also make sure to teach the young children the vowels first before the consonants.

Start With the Alphabet Song

I guess the hardest part of the teaching job is in making the young children understand what you are teaching them. The first thing to do is to introduce the alphabet song. That way, the children will be introduced to the letters.

This gadget-rich age has made teaching young children easier and faster, but how about those who have not experienced playing with gadgets? This is why you should always start from the most basic level.

Children love to sing the alphabet song. But they need to see the alphabet. Since children are visual people, you have to provide them with posters to accompany the alphabet song.

There are many activities that involve teaching vowels to children.

There are many activities that involve teaching vowels to children.

Different Activities for Teaching Vowels


Use pictures of different objects starting with the vowel sound you are teaching. So, if you are teaching letter Aa, use pictures of apple, asparagus, anthurium, ashtray, ash, ashfall, American man or woman, ant, arc, ark, alligator, arrow, ax, anchor, aquarium, and other things that begin with letter Aa. Say the name of the object then show the picture to the children. Sometimes, children do not know the picture so you have to explain what the object is. But most often, the children have already seen the object or they have encountered it in their daily life.

Real Objects

I often use real objects to present my lessons. This way the children can touch each object. It is easier for them to retain the lesson in their minds, and they will know the exact object that you are discussing. This will give them more understanding of the lesson.


When I say flashcards, I mean big ones that the children will appreciate. Big flashcards are best for the little ones as they will be more interested in looking at them compared to small flashcards. Make sure that the letters are also very clear so that the children will easily visualize the letters being shown.


Playing games is a good way to introduce vowels. Children love games, so using them to present the new lesson would be fun for the little ones. There are many kinds of games that you can use to introduce vowels. You can use your own game.

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Show and tell is one of the easiest games that you can use. Show an object, then the child can say what it is. The guessing game is also good—you can say something about the object then the child can guess what it is. More games could be introduced to the children.


You can let the children color objects that begin with vowels. Children love coloring. By letting them color, you are not only developing their ability to identify the vowel but you would also develop their motor skills. Skill integration is good when teaching young children.


Young children cannot write the letters yet, so they need to trace first. You can give them tracing activities daily to enhance their motor skills. The more tracing activities they do, the better. This will also keep them busy so they will not get bored.

Activity Sheets and Worksheets

Worksheets are crucial. Every lesson that you teach needs to be presented with worksheets. The worksheets help enhance the learning process in the children. As much as possible, you should use different worksheets to enable the children to learn more about the lesson.

For the worksheets, you can make your own. I don’t use books for my young children. Instead, I use the worksheets that I create. This is good because you already know the abilities of your students and that is where you base the type of paperwork that you make.

When the children have finished the letter Aa, do the same with the other vowels.

Free Worksheets


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Felisa Daskeo


Felisa Daskeo (author) from Manila, Philippines on April 24, 2020:

adore ocampo thank you very much. Glad that you appreciate it. I love sharing what I know and glad that people like you appreciate what I am doing online. You're very welcome.

adore ocampo on April 24, 2020:

Thank you for sharing this informative way of teaching children.

Felisa Daskeo on April 13, 2020:

Thelma Alberts your comment is inspiring. Thank you.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on April 13, 2020:

This is a very interesting and informative way to teach children. Thank you for sharing. Well done!

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