150+ Short A Words (Free Printable List) (2024)

All Resources | Closed Syllables | CVC Words | Grade 1 | Kindergarten | Phonics


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Learn all about the short A sound and get a free printable list of over 150 short A words, organized by word family.

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Table of Contents

🍎 All About Short A

A vowel sound is made with an open mouth, where the jaw drops and the sound is unobstructed. Every written syllable MUST include a vowel.

Short vowels are the most frequent vowel sounds. The letters (graphemes) A, E, I, O, Y, and Y can represent short sounds (phonemes).

When the letter A represents a short sound, it will spell /ă/ – the sound you hear at the beginning of ‘apple.’

Examples of words with short a include:

  • app
  • ash
  • an
  • rag
  • gap
  • cat
  • shack
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The short /ă/ sound will be heard in words with closed syllables. This means the short /ă/ sound comes at the beginning or middle of a word.

Did you know? Linguists don’t use the term “short vowel.” Instead, they use the term “lax.”

This is because the word “short” implies that the length of the sound is shortened, when in fact ALL vowel sounds can be held for as long as you have breath.

Short A Words List

There are so many words with Short A sounds. So we’ve compiled the ultimate short A word list and organized it alphabetically by word families (rime units).

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-ab Words


-ad Words


-ag Words


-al Words


-am Words*


-an Words*


*Important Note: Words that are part of the -am and -an word family are a bit tricky for kids because the sound gets slightly whiney when followed by the nasal consonants /n/, /m/, or /ng/. These are called glued sounds.

-ap Words


-at Words


-ax Words


-ack Words


-ash Words


-ask Words


Other Short A Words


👩🏽‍🏫 Teaching Kids to Read Short A Words

Once children know just a few letters and sounds, they can begin blending sounds to read words.

Begin by blending two sounds, starting with the short /ă/ vowel and ending consonant. We call these VC words because they follow a vowel-consonant pattern. Examples include:

  • /ă/+ /b/ = ab
  • /ă/ + /p/ = ap
  • /ă/ + /d/ = ad

Once kids can blend two sounds, they can begin to practice blending CVC words. These are words that follow a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern. Examples include:

  • /t/ + /ă/+ /b/ = tab
  • /g/ + /ă/ + /p/ = gap
  • /d/ + /ă/ + /d/ = dad

Learning this sound is important because it is the most frequent sound that the letter A will represent.


When the letter A is followed by certain letters, it may not be short. If the letter A if followed by an R, it will create a new phoneme = /ar/ like car. This is called an r-controlled vowel.

If the letter A is followed by a W, it will create a different phoneme that sounds like /aw/ like in paw. We call this a vowel team.

Short A Activities

Kids will need lots of practice to master short vowel sounds. Although short A isn’t the trickiest of the short vowels, kids will still need lots of explicit instruction and targeted practice.

It’s important to start at the phoneme level, then move to the word level, to the sentence level, and finally to the text level. Here are some activities we suggest!

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Phoneme Level Practice

👉🏽 Blending Sounds Sheets: Use this resource to help your students learn how to blend individual sounds (phonemes) together in order to read real and nonsense words.

👉🏽 Blending board: Using a blending board is so important because it engages learners in multisensory instruction.

👉🏽 Blending Practice: Using words and pictures, kids will practice continuous blending – the research-backed way to teach blending!

Word Level Practice

👉🏽 Closed Syllable Interactive Notebook: This no-prep resource includestargeted worksheets specifically designed to practice phonological awareness, decoding, encoding, fluency, writing, and dictation.

👉🏽 Word Ladders: Students will usephoneme-grapheme mapping to connect sounds (phonemes) with their written letters (graphemes).

Sentence Level Practice

👉🏽 CVC Sentences: These decodable sentences help to build fluency and confidence in young readers with intentional practice. They’re perfect for kids kids build up the stamina to read full texts. You can also grab our popular resource and get a HUGE decodable sentence bundle.

Text Level Practice

👉🏽 Decodable stories: Grab our free CVC word decodable, which includes both decoding and encoding practice for each short vowel.

👉🏽 Decodable Texts: Using these texts helps reinforce the phonics skills you’ve taught in an authentic and engaging way. Visit our post for links to hundreds of FREE decodables!

Recommended Resources

Did you know we also have posts dedicated to long vowels too – including word lists and printables? As kids become more skilled readers, they will need to learn to flex between long and short vowel sounds.

Learn more about teaching:

  • Long A
  • Long E
  • Long I
  • Long O
  • Long U
  • Long Y

To learn more about teaching long and short vowels, use our long and short anchor charts and long and short sound sort for students to practice!

🖨 Download & Print

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Short A Words List

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150+ Short A Words (Free Printable List) (2024)
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