Learn all about VCCV words! You’ll find out what they are and how to teach kids to break them apart when reading. Then, get comprehensive lists of 83 VCCV pattern words in four organized lists. All words are two syllables and perfect for scaffolded syllabication practice!
What Are VCCV Words?
VC/CV words are two-syllable words that follow this specific pattern: Vowel-Consonant/Consonant-Vowel. They include two closed syllables and will be broken between the two consonants.
🐇 They are sometimes called Rabbit Words, because the word ‘rabbit’ follows this pattern.
This involves breaking longer words down into syllables, or smaller, more manageable parts, for an accurate reading. It’s a key decoding strategy that helps students become effective readers.
How to Teach VCCV Words
First, make sure students are familiar with closed syllables. If you haven’t explicitly taught this, start with our closed syllables resource.
Once kids can quickly read closed syllables (including nonsense words), VC/CV words are an easy transition to longer words.
👩🏫 Teach and Model
Reading two-syllable words doesn’t have to be scary! I use the term “Rabbit Words” and “VC/CV words” interchangeably. I even put on my bunny ears and write the word ‘rabbit’ on my whiteboard!
I then model how to mark the word to break it apart into two closed syllables (rab+bit) to read the word correctly.
- Students identify the vowels and mark them with a v.
- They find the consonants and mark them with a c.
- “Swoop the syllables” by drawing a curved line under each syllable.
- Read each syllable out loud, then read the entire word out loud.
VCCV Word Lists
🖨️ Get the printable versions of these lists at the bottom of this post!
We’ve intentionally put together four lists, organized by specific features:
List 1: Words with the same middle consonant (rab/bit).
List 2: Words with two different middle consonants (tur/nip).
List 3: Words with blends (tan/trum).
List 4: Compound words (sun/set).
List 1: TWO Syllable Rabbit Words (Same Middle Consonant)
This list includes 19 perfect words to begin with when first teaching this pattern. All words include the SAME double consonant, making it easy for kids to see where to break apart the words.
Teach kids that even if they don’t know the meaning of the word, they can still be assured that they’re reading the word correctly when they break it apart between the consonants.
Then, use it as an opportunity to teach meaning through new vocabulary. Move onto List 2 once kids can break apart these syllables and read the words correctly.
List 2: Rabbit Words (With Different Middle Consonants)
The 20 words included on this list are all 6-letter words with no blends or digraphs. The two middle consonants are different letters.
Move onto List 3 once kids can break apart these syllables and read the words correctly.
List 3: Rabbit Words with Blends
After kids have mastered reading words from List 1-2, teach that some words include MORE than two consonants between the vowels. If this is the case, they may have to look for consonant blends.
These should be treated as one consonant. Blends can be included at the end of the first syllable or at the beginning of the second syllable. Example: dan/druff, Frank/lin
Kids should locate the consonant blend and underline it. This will help them to treat it as one consonant and recognize it as a VC/CV word. This list includes 20 words with blends.
List 4: Compound Rabbit Words
Use this list to teach that closed syllables sometimes create compound words. The list includes 22 compound words.
*Be aware that some words on this list include blends or digraphs, so be sure you choose the words you introduce based on the skills you have taught.
Using the Lists
- For Teacher Use: Use the words from each list to use as examples when teaching and modeling syllabication. The lists have been intentionally organized according to difficulty and skill.
- For Student Use: Use a document camera and model marking and reading the words in the first column during guided practice.
Provide kids with their own copies so they can follow along with you during this ‘We Do’ section of your lesson. Then, students should finish the worksheet as the “I Do” portion of the lesson, marking and reading the words in the second column.
Staple these lists in the student’s phonics notebooks for practice and review reading.
More Resources and Tips
Teach a specific procedure for marking (or coding) rabbit words. It’s not enough to just tell kids to break the word between the consonants. Sometimes it’s more tricky than that, like when there are blends or digraphs within the words.
For an outlined procedure for marking words, visit this syllable division post. You will also get 3 FREE worksheets specifically designed for students to practice dividing VC/CV words.
📝Educational Focus: This word list is great for first and second-grade students working on reading multisyllabic words and syllable division.
Download & Print
We’d love to hear about your experience using the words from the lists!
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