The Schwa Sound

SchwaSymbolChairBe Aware of Schwa:

Schwa is often a light “uh” sound that can be made by any vowel. It is the most common sound in the English language. It is often very similar to a short u, but is softer and weaker.

In words with more than one syllable, one syllable is stressed or given more emphasis. Other syllables are unstressed, or unaccented. The schwa sound can occur in an unaccented syllable, so it is heard more often in words with more than one syllable. Notice that schwa can be present in words with consonant -le, open or closed syllables alike.


Since the Schwa sound is more often found in words with more than one syllable, it is included at the end of the Phonics Pow Toolkit. (V.c) However, it is a good idea to introduce it earlier as Schwa can be found in some one syllable words like: the, a, was, and of.

The sled was a lot of fun.

Hear the Schwa sound in these one syllable words with the letter o: My son won a ton of money a month from the lottery. At the end of the Silent e section (III.a) there are activities with words that have the Schwa sound (some love gloves).


Extra Attention to A Schwa

Any vowel can make the Schwa sound: zebra, open, pencil, lemon, and butter. But let’s give a little extra attention to the letter A, which can make the Schwa sound at the beginning (aware) and end (ninja) of some words. Play an online word search game with words where the letter a makes the Schwa sound at the beginning.

The letter a can make the Schwa sound at the end of some words like extra.

The letter a can also sometimes make the Schwa sound in the middle of words like: alphabet, amazon, elephant.

Practice words that have an A Schwa with a set of resources available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers that includes a handout, worksheet, and nice dice practice. There is also a free Schwa Word Treasure game.

More Resources

PLAY A Schwa maze at Pizza! Pizza! printable schwa game from the literacy nest. Online Quiz at purposegames.

Note: read about short U & the schwa sound at the challengeoflearningUSEnglish

Author: dailyplanit

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

One thought on “The Schwa Sound”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: