Phonics is an instructional method that teaches early readers and writers the sounds that letters make. The terms "long" and "short" refer to the sounds vowels make when pronounced in words. Each vowel -- A,E,I,O and U -- makes a long and short sound. Vowels are typically short when a word or syllable only contains one vowel.

A

The letter "A" makes a short vowel sound in the beginning of words like "apple," "ant," "at" and "axe." "Bat," "cat" and "hat" contain the short vowel "A."

E

"E" makes the short vowel sound of "eh." The word "end" begins with a short "E." "Hen," "net," "men" and "bed" contain the short vowel "E."

I

The letter "I" makes the short vowel sound you hear in the word "pig." "Inn," "pin," "wig" and "bin" also contain the short vowel "I."

O

The words "log" "socks," "dog," "fox" and "pot" contain the short vowel "O" sound.

U

The short vowel "U" makes the sound of "uh." "Mug," "nut," "sun," "cup" and "tub" contain the short vowel "U" sound.