Short a sound words


Wondering how to help your child learn about short a sound words? Grab a free printable short a vowel sound word list and tips in this post.

It is the first sound in the alphabet and one of the first sounds we teach children.  But now your child is learning to read,  but you start wondering:

“What exactly is the short a vowel sound?”

This post breaks down the short a sound for parents in a simple way. Plus you can grab a free printable short a word list and chart of short a words with pictures.

What is short a sound?

The short a sound is the sound you hear at the beginning of the word apple. You can also hear this vowel sound in the middle of the word “cat.”

Short a is the most common sound associated with the written letter a. It is important to understand that sounds come from our spoken language.

Letters do not make sounds. Letters represent or spell sounds.

When you see letters in between slashes, it represents the sound not the letter name.

How do you identify short a and long a?

Short sounds represent the most common sound we associate with the written vowels: a, e, i, o, and u.

Long vowels spell the vowel’s name.

These word pairs show you the difference:

  • cap and cape
  • pan and pane
  • man and main

The first word in each pair has the sound /a/ like in apple. The second word has the sound /ā/ like in ape.

Examples of Short a Sound Words

Some examples of short a vowel sound words are:

  • bat
  • clap
  • damp
  • grasp
  • cash
  • wham
  • thatch

Each of these words becomes increasingly more complex. So when working with your child to learn short a vowel sounds, you need to make sure they also know the consonant sounds.

short a word families list

Short a Sound Word Families List

Word families are groups of words that have the same vowel and ending sound.  This is also called a rime.

Some of these word families are CVC words. Some are also word families with consonant blends and digraphs.

These word families all have short a:

  • -ab
  • -ack
  • -ad
  • -ag
  • -am
  • -amp
  • -an
  • -ash
  • -at

You can help your child read words in a word family with post-it notes and a whiteboard. Write the word family on the post-it note. Then place it on the whiteboard.

For example, write “-ab” on the post-it note. Place it on your whiteboard.

Then use a dry-erase marker to write the letter c. Have your child blend it as “/c/ /ab/.”

Next, erase the c and write gr. Help your child blend it as “/g/ /r/ /ab/.”

free short a sound words list and word chart with list of short a words sorted by CVC, blends, digraphs, and spelling rules.

Short a Sound Word List

You can download this free short a sound word list. it has 80 short a sound words.

It is grouped by

  • cvc words
  • beginning blends words
  • ending blends words
  • digraphs short a words
  • other spelling patterns words list

Short a CVC Words

This list has short a CVC Words:

  • bad
  • cab
  • had
  • jam
  • rag
  • tap
  • sat
  • fan
  • lap
  • fax
  • ham
  • tab
  • tan
  • gas
  • sap
  • zag

Beginning Blends Short a Words

This word list contains beginning blend words with short a:

  • bran
  • brag
  • crab
  • trap
  • blab
  • clap
  • flag
  • slam
  • slat
  • span
  • drag
  • flap
  • snag
  • snap
  • swam
  • stab

Ending Blends Short a Words

This word list has short a words with an ending blend. Some also have a beginning and an ending blend:

  • and
  • hand
  • band
  • sand
  • last
  • fast
  • past
  • camp
  • lamp
  • damp
  • gasp
  • pant
  • grand
  • stamp
  • grasp
  • bland

Short a words with Consonant Digraphs

These words have a consonant digraph and short a vowel:

  • that
  • than
  • bath
  • math
  • dash
  • sash
  • lash
  • mash
  • wham
  • Chad
  • chat
  • chap
  • back
  • lack
  • pack
  • sack

Spelling Rules

These words have some consonant spelling rules or two blends. They are more advanced short a vowel words:

  • patch, catch, snatch, latch
  • pass, mass, grass, class
  • stash, spasm, flash, scrap
  • clack, whack, track, black

Using the Short a Sound Word List

You’ll want focus on the consonant features your child already know when you teach short a sound.

For most children, this means starting with CVC words. So look at the list and choose a few CVC words.

Write them on an index card or whiteboard. Help your child with sounding out letters and then sounding out the word phonetically.

short a sounds words chart with clip art images of cab, back, dad, bag, jam, van, map, cat, and bath

Short a Sound Words with Pictures

Use the sound a sound words with pictures to help your learner, too.

Often, children learn best with there is a visual involved. The brain remembers pictures better than spoken words.

The Short a Sound Words with Pictures chart has these short a words:

  • cab
  • back
  • dad
  • bag
  • jam
  • van
  • map
  • cat
  • bath

You can post this somewhere for your child to refer. Or use it to play word games.

You can say: “The sounds are /b/ /a/ /k/. Point to the picture.”

Then your child should blend the sounds into the word back and point to the picture “back.”

cvc cut and paste worksheets for short vowel a. Includes clip art images for the -ab and -ap word families. The worksheet is on several pieces of construction paper with scissors and a glue stick.

Short Vowel a Worksheets

If you’re looking for more practice with short a sound words, check out the phonics worksheets available in the Printable Parents’ Shop.

CVC Word Cut and Glue

These interactive CVC Words Worksheets have 25 total pages of CVC practice.  There are 5 pages for short vowel a. It includes these short vowel words families:

  • at
  • ap
  • ab
  • ad
  • am
  • an
  • at

Grab the CVC Words Cut and Paste Worksheets in the Printable Parents Shop.  Or find the CVC Worksheets Cut and Paste on Teachers Pay Teachers.

short a cvc words worksheet with a green, red, and blue dot marker displayed on piece of blue construction paper on a white background

Look Alike CVC Words Dot Worksheets

These Dot the CVC Word Worksheets are designed to reduce guessing! Your child will get a lot of practice reading words with short vowel a plus the other CVC word sounds.

On each page, your child has to decode 27 short vowel words. That’s a lot of purposeful practice.

Check out the CVC Words Dab and Dot Worksheets in the Printable Parents’ Shop or grab the Look Alike CVC Words Worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Word Mapping CVC Words

A really effective way to practice short vowel words is word mapping. Your child will hear all three sounds in a CVC word. Then they match the letters to the sound.

The Word Mapping CVC Words Worksheets have short a vowel words in addition to the other short vowel sounds. Your child will map words with these short a word families:

  • ab,
  • ad,
  • ag,
  • am,
  • an,
  • ap,
  • at

Check out the CVC Word Mapping Worksheet in the Printable Parents’ Shop or find the Word Mapping for CVC Words on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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