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AI and AY Words: Read & Match Worksheets (FREE)

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Learn all about the vowel teams ai and ay, and get free printable worksheets to help students practice identifying and reading ai & ay words within sentences and context.

Graphic with 2 worksheets and large block letter title saying "AI and AY Words."

About Long A

There are 8 ways to spell Long A, but the first four spellings are the most common ways to spell it.

Focus the majority of your instruction on these four graphemes!

Students often have trouble distinguishing the vowel teams ai and ay when practicing spelling and reading, so I like to spend extra time on these two.

Colorful graphic listing the 8 ways to spell long A with keywords and pictures.

Vowel Team AI

The vowel team ai is a common spelling pattern used to spell the long a sound.

👉 Spelling Generalization: Ai is used in the middle of base words. It can sometimes be used at the beginning of words, like aid, ail, or aim, but it will not be used at the end of words.

AI Words Examples

  • rain
  • pain
  • wait
  • afraid
  • train
  • tail
  • laid
  • bait
  • jail
  • praise
  • aid

Vowel Team AY

The vowel team ay is another common spelling pattern used to spell long A.

👉 Spelling Generalization: Ay is used at the end of base words.

Vowel team AY may appear in the middle of a word if it is a compound word (e.g. playgroup) or if a suffix is added (e.g. playing).

AY Words Examples

  • day
  • play
  • way
  • hay
  • stay
  • away
  • gray
  • Saturday
  • anyway
The printed ai/ay worksheets with scissors and a glue stick.

Decodable AI and AY Word Sentences

  1. To get out of jail, someone must pay your bail.
  2. It started to hail when I was out on the trail.
  3. I had to pay for a one-way train ticket to Maine.
  4. Let’s go for a sail on this sunny day.
  5. In class, you must raise your hand and ask, “May I use the bathroom?”
  6. I was afraid when I was going to run the relay race.
  7. The stray cat loves to hide in the pail.
  8. It may rain on a day when the sky is gray.
  9. I wrote a long essay and prayed I would get an A.
  10. Please wait for the spray paint to dry.
  11. She liked her hair in a braid, not a pony tail.
  12. I put the bait on fishing line and sat to wait.

✂ The Worksheets

Children will read 12 sentences, underlining the words with these vowel teams, and matching them to the corresponding pictures. These engaging printables build important phonics skills and encourage fluent reading!

Kids should grab scissors, glue, and a highlighter and they’ll be all set to use these engaging worksheets.

Hands gluing pictures on one of the ay/ai vowel teams worksheets.

Tips & Info

This engaging activity can be done during small group, as an individual activity, or sent home as homework to reinforce the skills you’re teaching in class.

We suggest teaching your students this procedure so that you can use our other Read and Match Worksheets that are great for any phonics skill you’re teaching!

  1. Fold the pictures along the line so that only the sentences are visible.
  2. Using a highlighter, children will scan the sentences looking for words with vowel team -ai and -ay.
  3. Kids will read the sentences though, using research-based reading strategies to decode unknown words.
  4. After reading through the sentences one time, they can unfold the paper to reveal the pictures.
  5. Students should re-read each sentence, looking for a picture that matches the meaning of the sentence.
  6. Kids then cut and glue each picture to it’s matching sentence.
  7. Practice reading and re-reading to build fluency and prosody.
The two completed ai/ay worksheets laid out with scissors and a glue stick.

Download & Print

Are you using this resource? We welcome your feedback! 
Please leave a comment below or tag us on Instagram @literacylearn.

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!

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