CVC Words with Pictures

Your child is ready to read CVC words but you don’t know where to start. Grab the free CVC words with pictures and start learning today.

You’re trying to teach your child to read. You’ve heard about CVC words – but what does that really mean?

You need a straightforward, jargon-free guide to CVC words. Read on to learn everything you need to know about them.

Plus you find a CVC words with pictures printable. So relax, hard-working parent. You’ll be raising a reader in no time.

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What words are CVC words?

CVC words are three-letter words. They follow the spelling pattern consonant-vowel-consonant.

CVC words have a short vowel sound spelled with the letters a, e, i, o, or u.

Some common CVC words are:

  • cat
  • hen
  • pig
  • dog
  • cub

These are the first words children learn to read applying phonics, or their knowledge of common sound-letter spellings.

CVC Words with Pictures

To get started as you help your child with CVC words, you can grab this free printable CVC Words with Pictures chart.

The CVC Words with Pictures can be:

  • displayed for your child
  • cut apart to play a matching game (just use two copies).
  • used as a reference for parents.

It is a gift for email subscribers so scroll down and find the box with the printable. Fill in your email address and name and it will be sent straight to your inbox.

The CVC Words ith Pictures printable is for your personal home use or for one educator to use in one individual classroom only.

Before your Child Reads CVC Words

Before your child can read CVC words, you need to make sure your child has a few important skills like:

Once children have mastered the alphabet and letter sounds, a lot of teachers and parents jump into reading CVC words.

This is a mistake.

The English language is a written code that matches speech sounds to letters. To be a strong reader, children need to understand that speech is separated into different units of sound.

That is phonological awareness.

Fortunately, you can use the CVC Words with pictures to help your child develop phonological awareness.

First, you will check to see if your child hears each sound in a CVC word prior to trying to read it. This is the part of phonological awareness called phonemic awareness.

Phonemic Awareness for CVC Words

Pre-readers can see the pictures on the CVC Words with Pictures printable and then name the word.  As they name the word, they have a chance to build their phonemic awareness by separating the three sounds they hear.

So use the CVC Words with Pictures as a reference for your child to develop phonemic awareness skills.

Here’s how you can model it for your child:

  • Tell your child one word from the CVC Words List with Pictures.
  • For example, you say “jet” to your child.
  • You say: “Jet. Let’s count the sounds in the word jet. J-e-t. Three sounds.”
  • Then ask your child to tell you the sounds in the word jet : /j/ /e/ /t/.

Next, your child can have a turn:

  • Point to the picture of the cab.
  • Say, “This is cab.”
  • Tell your child, “Say cab.”
  • Your child repeats: “cab.”
  • Say: “Count the sounds in cab.”
  • Your child says: “c-a-b. Three sounds.”

While a lot of parents want to rush into reading the words, skipping this phonemic awareness step is a big mistake.

Children with weak phonemic awareness are at higher risk of reading failure by third grade. So practice this important step!

More CVC Word Lists

The CVC Words with Pictures free printable is limited to five words for each short vowel sound.  As you teach your child to read and spell CVC words, it is helpful to have more words.

Make sure to bookmark this post on your phone for future reference.

These lists are arranged into CVC word families.

Short A Words

These short a CVC words can be a resource as you teach your child:

  • ab family: cab, dab, jab ab
  • ad family: bad, dad, fad, lad, mad, pad, rad, sad
  • ag family: tag, wag, bag, rag, sag, nag
  • am family: bam, dam, ham, jam, ram, yam
  • an family: ban, can, pan, fan, man, van, ran
  • ap family: cap, nap, gap, map, sap, tap, rap, lap
  • at family: bat, cat, pat, fat, hat, mat, rat, sat, vat

Short E Words

Use this list of short e CVC word families to help your child learn to read and spell:

  • ed family: bed, red, led, fed, wed
  • en family: hen, ten, pen, men, den
  • et family: bet, pet, jet, net, wet, vet
  • eg family: peg, leg, beg

Short I Words

This list of short I CVC words can help your work with your child:

  • ib family: bib, fib, rib
  • id family: did, hid, kid, lid
  • ig family: big, dig, fig, pig, wig
  • in family: bin, fin, kin, pin, tin, sin, win
  • ip family: dip, lip, rip, tip, zip
  • it family: bit, hit, kit, pit, sit

Short O Words

These are some short o words your child can practice spelling and reading.

  • ob family: cob, mob, sob
  • od family: nod, rod, pod, sod
  • og family: bog, dog, log, hog
  • op family: bop, cop, mop, hop, pop, top
  • ot family: hot, cot, dot, pot, not, tot

Short U Words

  • ub family: cub, sub, tub
  • ud family: bud, mud
  • ug family: hug, jug, mug, pug, rug, tug
  • um family: gum, hum,
  • un family: bun, fun, nun, run, sun
  • up family: cup, pup
  • ut family: cut, gut, hut, nut

At what age do children learn CVC words?

Many children learn to read CVC words in kindergarten or when they are 5 or 6 years old.

But really, the most important thing is that your child has met those prerequisite skills for the alphabet, letter sounds, and phonological awareness.

So even if you have a 7-year-old who is struggling with CVC words, go back and strengthen these skills:

  • learning the alphabet
  • beginning sounds
  • phonological awareness

How can I practice CVC words with my child?

The best way to teach your child CVC words is to start with hearing the CVC words aloud.  Building the words in a hands-on way makes learning to read CVC words faster.

This is because you’re helping your child learn to map the words in their brain. This process of how words are stored in long-term memory is called orthographic mapping.

When children learn to read words by mapping, it can take as few as 1-4 repetitions before your child can read it effortlessly.

The CVC Hands-on Words Mats are the perfect resource for your child to map CVC words. They do this by:

  1. Naming the CVC words
  2. Tapping each sound they hear in the word.
  3. Spelling the word hands-on with alphabet magnets or letter beads
  4. Reading the word.

You can grab the CVC Hands-On Words Mats in the Printable Parents Shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Looking for CVC Worksheets? Grab some here.

How many sounds does X make?

Of course, there is one exception to the CVC rule. This happens in words with x.

In CVC words like fix or fox, there are actually 4 sounds!

This is because the letter X spells two sounds: /k/ /s/.

Trying saying /x/ out loud. Do you feel how your mouth moves to make both the /k/ and /s/ sounds at the end?

Words that end in the letter x are the only CVC words with four sounds.

Recapping CVC Words with Pictures

Here is the recap for all you busy parents:

  • CVC words are three-letter words.
  • It stands for consonant-vowel-consonant.
  • Before children learn to read CVC words, they need to know the alphabet, the most common letter sounds, and have good phonological awareness.
  • Use a CVC Words with Pictures printable as a reference to teach your child to read CVC words.
  • Hands-on learning makes learning to read CVC words a lot faster.


While CVC words might sound like gibberish, it’s a pretty simple concept. They are three letter words with a short vowel that follow the pattern: consonant-vowel-consonant.

You don’t need to be a masters level reading specialist to teach your child to read. Grab the CVC Words with Pictures printable today and start to raise a reader in your family.

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