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173+ Long i Vowel Sound Words (Free Printable List)

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Learn all about long i and the six ways to spell the long i vowel sound: i, i-e, igh, y, y-e, and ie. You will also snag your own free printable list with 173 words with long i vowel sounds!

A corkboard with the long I vowel list pinned to it. Words saying "Long I Words."

All About Long i

Just as with all long vowels, the long vowel sound is the same as the letter name.

  • Long a says /ā/ like acorn.
  • Long e says /ē/ like equal.
  • Long i says /ī/ like ice.
  • Long o says /ō/ like ocean.
  • Long u says /yoo/ like unicorn, OR /oo/ like ruler.

I usually teach my students a little jingle to remember the sound long vowels make. We pound on the table and chant, “Long vowels say their names.” My students really respond positively to this, and it helps them to remember the sounds of long vowels!

Colorful graphic with five ways to spell long i with coordinating keyword pictures.

Long i can be spelled 6 different ways: i, i-e, igh, y, y-e, and ie. All of these spelling patterns can result in the long i vowel sound. Examples include:

  • i like lion.
  • i-e like bike.
  • igh like light.
  • y like fly.
  • y_e like type.
  • ie like pie.

Long i Sound Words

👉 Scroll to the bottom to download our free, comprehensive long i word list PDF!

i – Open Syllable Words & Wild/Old Words

The letter i by itself will say its long sound when it is the last letter in a syllable. This is called an open syllable. Think about words like hi, li/on, and pi/lot. Since the syllables end in the single letter i, the vowel will make its long i sound.

👉 Exceptions: We also hear the long i sound in many common, but irregular closed syllable words that break the rules.

These ‘exceptions to the rule’ are one-syllable words that end in -ild, -ilt, -ind, and -ist. These are sometimes referred to as Wild, Old Words.

Words with open syllable and wild or old words with long i sound:


i-e (Long i with Silent E)

This pattern follows a VCe pattern and results in the letter i saying its name.

Use the sight word ‘like’ to teach this spelling pattern. Write it on the board and ask your students to read it. Because this word is usually one of the first sight words children learn, they should know it automatically.)

Follow this general script:

  1. Teacher: Tap the sounds you hear in the word like. How many sounds do you hear?
  2. Students: /l/ /ī/ /k/ = 3 sounds.
  3. Teacher: But we see four letters! When we see i-consonant-e pattern in words, the i will say its long sound. That’s why ‘like’ has a long vowel sound in the middle. Without the letter e at the end, it would say ‘lick.’ Now imagine you raised your hand in class and said “I like my dog.” That magic e at the end is so important because, without it, my sentence would say “I lick my dog.” (Kids always get a hoot out of using this example in a sentence.)

Words with long i with silent e with long i sound:


igh – Vowel Team

Refer to this spelling pattern as “igh – 3 letter i.” It’s a three-letter vowel team. This phonogram is totally irregular and cannot be sounded out.

We learned from The ABC’s and All Their Tricks that this spelling is actually a remnant of Old English and Old German, which is why it looks so strange to us!

Words with vowel team igh with long I sound:


y – Vowel

Remember told old saying: “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.” Well, let’s teach our students the rules for when the letter y actually is considered a vowel. They can know for sure when that “sometimes” really occurs.

👉 Y is considered a vowel when it comes at the end of a syllable or word.
👉 When Y is at the end of a root word, it makes the long i sound.

Multisyllabic words where the vowel y makes the long I sound:


y-e (Long Y with Silent E)

When y is in the middle of a word, it is also considered a vowel.

When a syllable follows a y-consonant-silent e pattern, the y makes the long i sound. Many of these words come from Greek, and the y makes the sound of i.


ie – Vowel Team

IE is a vowel team. When it comes at the end of a root, it makes the long vowel i sound.

There are only a handful of words that include this vowel team, so teaching these four words together as a word family may be a better approach than teaching and reviewing the vowel team.


FAQ & Info

What are the best ways to teach long vowels?

Begin by solidifying the difference between long and short vowels. Use hands-on activities, manipulatives, and orthographic mapping activities. Vowel sorts are also great activities.

Should I teach all long vowel spellings at the same time?

You should not teach all long vowel patterns at the same time. Follow a scope and sequence that targets skills systematically to build a solid foundation.

Do I use all the words on the Long Vowel Word List?

Only choose words from the list that follow the phonics skills you’ve already taught. For example: When teaching the long y spelling for long i, do not use the word “city” with students if you haven’t already taught the soft sound of c says /s/.

Related Posts

👉 Get the rest of the printable Long Vowel Word Lists: Long A, Long E, Long O, and Long U!

Corkboard image with list pinned to it. Text saying "173+ Long I Sound Words."

Download & Print

We hope you can use many of the words on this list as you teach the long i vowel sound. Please comment below or tag us on Instagram @Literacylearn to tell us your best tips for teaching long i.

DOWNLOAD TERMS: All of our resources and printables are designed for personal use only in homes and classrooms. Each teacher must download his or her own copy. Please do not save to a shared drive, reproduce our resources on the web, or make photocopies for anyone besides your own students. To share with others, please use the social share links provided or distribute the link to the blog post so others can download their own copies. Your support in this allows us to keep making free resources for everyone! Please see our Creative Credits page for information about the licensed clipart we use. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our terms, please email us. Thank you!


  1. May I ask why i says its short sound in “whisper” or “whisker”? It’s at the end of the first open syllable and should say a long sound.

    1. Hey Natalya,
      The first syllables in both words are actually closed syllables. You would divide them like this: whis/per and whis/ker. Because the first syllables are closed, they would make the short vowel sounds (short i). You can find out more about closed syllables in our post. Hope that helps!
      Katie and Laura

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