teaching resource

Vowel Team Dominoes - AI and AY

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 6 pages | Grades: 1 - 2

Decode words with vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds using this set of 26 dominoes.

Vowel teams are 2 vowels that work together to make one sound (aka, a digraph). 

In this activity, students will read the ay and ai words and connect them to their matching pictures.

Practice Long Vowel Teams: ay and ai Words

Use this resource in your reading center, as a guided reading activity, or a whole class exercise (see below) to practice decoding words with long vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.

Shuffle and divide all domino cards equally among players. To start, a player lays down a domino in the middle of the playing area. Students then take turns matching either side of the card—the image or ai/ay word—with the dominoes in their hands. 

For example, if a player were to lay down the “chain | 🧠 (brain)” domino, the next player would lay down the card with the 🔗 “chain” picture to the left or “brain” to the right. Gameplay continues in this manner until all of the dominoes are gone.

An answer key is included so that students can self-check their matches.

Scaffolding and Extension Tips + More Vowel Team Games

Challenge students who already understand the concept to look at the images and write the words on a whiteboard or sheet of paper. They can also organize cards by their vowel teams or put the words in alphabetical order.

Support students who need help understanding the concepts by using a visual reminder, such as a vowel phonemes poster or an anchor chart

Use this resource as independent practice for fast finishers, and full-class learning opportunities like scoot activities, lesson reviews, formative assessments, and more.

🔗 ay and ai Words Chain (Scoot Activity)

Provide each student in your class with a domino. Challenge the students to find both of their other halves, creating one long chain of dominoes. For an extra challenge, ask the students to complete the task in silence!

🔔 Bell Ringer Activity

Leave the cards in a pile, and instruct students to grab one as soon as they enter the classroom. On a piece of paper, have students write the word in the picture and underline the vowel team it features. On the other side, have students draw a picture for the word to show they’ve read it. 

👯‍♀️ Odd Man Out

Place three cards at each station, making sure two cards form a matching ai or ay set, and the 3rd card doesn’t belong. Student pairs will rotate through each station and identify the vowel team pairs, writing their answers on a separate sheet of paper. 

Get our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies here! 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. An answer key is also included with this download.

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 


Looking for long vowel activities? We’ve got you covered! 

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