V is a tricky letter, especially as an initial. It's a comparatively rare letter, but without the obvious xylophones or zebras of other rarities. That makes vocabulary (hey, our first V word!) extra important: otherwise, V words are all too easy to miss.
This list of words that start with V for kids is built to help students connect that sound to the symbol, then connect the symbol to words, sentences and the whole written language. We've gone beyond a simple word list to provide engaging letter V activities for students of all grade levels, too.
For such a rare letter, V provides plenty of simple monosyllables suited to your youngest learners. At this level, the priority is to help students make the connection between a sound they hear and a shape on a page.
Van: Large vehicle for carrying cargo or lots of people
Vast: Very big or immense
Vat: Large open jar or basin
Vault: To jump over
Veer: To turn sharply
Vent: Hole to let air in or out
Vest: Piece of clothing like a shirt without sleeves
Vine: Plant with long stems that grow around objects or up walls
Vow: Serious and formal promise
Vowel: The letters A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y in the English alphabet
The connection between the spoken sound and the written symbol is the cornerstone of linguistic development. We have created a trace-the-letter activity below, designed to help your little learners make that all-important connection.
As your first graders begin to read, they should begin to recognize the letter V. Reinforcing that input with a list of recognizable words supports their growing literacy.
Valley: Lowland between hills or mountains
Veil: Lacy or wispy cloth to cover the face, like that of a bride at a wedding
Vein: Blood vessel leading to the heart
Verge: Edge, limit
Very: Lots, a large amount or degree of something
Vet: Short for "veterinarian," a doctor for animals
View: To look at, or a way of looking at something
Voice: Sound made with the mouth and breath
Vole: Small furry field mouse
Vote: To show your preference, to take part in an election
Simple V words like these support literacy. To help your students with the word-concept connection, pass around pictures of valleys, verges, and veils. Encourage them to point out which V words they see.
Second grade is generally the point at which your students' vocabulary starts to catch up with the lists. Encourage this connection by using words your students are likely to encounter in daily conversation or reading.
Vacant: Empty, containing nothing
Venom: Poison inflicted by an animal's bite or sting
Video: Visual part of a recorded program
Village: Small town
Villain: Bad guy, antagonist
Virus: Disease-causing microbe
Vital: Important, crucial
Vixen: Female fox or a feisty woman
Vocal: Of or having to do with the voice
Volume: Area filled by something, especially sound
In our glorious digital age, your 2nd graders will likely already be familiar with videos, viruses and volume. For the rest, encourage them to draw and build to express their ideas of these words. Creative play helps make abstract concepts, like new vocabulary, real to young minds.
At this point in a child's education, familiarity supports understanding. Our vocabulary list may include words your students already know, but the satisfaction they get from recognizing them helps reinforce their understanding.
Vacate: To empty out, to leave
Value: Worth, fair price
Vegetable: Edible part of a plant
Velvet: Soft fuzzy fabric
Vestige: Remnant, leftover
Vial: Small glass container for liquids, especially in chemistry
Vile: Bad, wrong, disgusting
Vision: Sense of sight
Voyage: Long trip
Vulture: Bald-headed bird that eats rotting meat
With 3rd graders, you can begin to discuss the real-world connections between vocabulary and experience. For instance, you can talk about "vacate" in the context of vacations and how they represent leaving one place to go to another.
As of 4th grade, it's time to start engaging your students with the greater significance of the words they're learning. They have matured enough to understand that words build sentences and sentences build stories.
Venture: Attempt, especially of something demanding or dangerous
Version: One variation of a particular thing
Vessel: Empty container for something; by extension, a boat
Via: By way of
Villa: Large farmhouse
Vintage: Age of something, especially wine
Virtue: Good thing about something, positive quality
Volley: Extended exchange of shots in sports such as tennis or in warfare
Volt: Measurement of electricity
These words were specifically chosen because they are rich in contextual meaning. "Via" comes directly from Latin and can be used to start a conversation about the importance of Latin roots in English. "Vessel" can be used to illustrate the evolution of a word's meaning, from an empty container to the necessarily empty nature of a sailing ship. "Volley" is an example of a word having an identical meaning in two radically different contexts: sports and combat.
V's comparative rarity makes every word that starts with it special. If you can inspire your students to see words that way, you'll have helped them to become lifelong language learners.
For more enriching vocabulary and etymology, take a look at our words starting with N! Note the new nuggets of novel verbiage by exploring one of English's most common consonants.