g before e will often soft be

The letter g often (but not always) has the soft sound of /j/ before an e. 

A large stāgecoach plunged over the brĭdge.

The g in words that end in -ge or -dge is often soft. Silent e makes the vowel long in words like “pāge,” but Defender d can stop the vowel from being long in “ĕdge” and more words.


Play a wordsearch game with words that are long or short and the g is soft.


Some words that end with -nge also have a soft g. Many have a short vowel, except: range, change, and strange, & sponge and orange with the schwa sound. A couple more words with a soft g are bilge and bulge.



In some words with a Bossy R vowel followed by ge like “charge,” the g is also soft.


Play a wordsearch game with these words. 


G also has the soft /j/ sound in some words that begin with ge: gem, gel, gentle, gerbil, geography. But there are quite a few exceptions to this guideline in words that begin with ge, and some have the hard /g/ sound: get, gecko, gear, geek, geese.

G before e will often soft /j/ be is introduced as one of the ways that Silent e can vary in the Phonics Pow Toolkit with worksheets, a boardgame, and spot & dot sentences. Hard or soft c and g are one of the ways that consonants can vary.

Find and Lift the Lost Gold

Closed syllables with a vowel followed by at least one consonant, are often short…except in some words with i & o followed by two consonants.

I was tōld the cōlt is kīnd of wīld.



If you have ever lŏst a gĭft or made a lĭst, you know that this is not always so.


i and o are usually short when the two consonants after the vowel are Digraphs-two letters that make one sound. This includes:

floss words: Bĭll is ĭll, give him a kĭss and a pĭll. The bŏss is ŏdd, he is always crŏss. (an exception is: roll)

-ck=/k/: throw a stĭck ŏff the dŏck.

Consonant digraphs: sĭng a lŏng sŏng, and swĭsh the fĭsh brŏth. (the word bōth is an exception)

Strategy: to fīnd lŏng, pĭck bōth. First try the long sound to see if it is a recognizable word, next try short.


Remember to fīnd and lĭft the lŏst gōld!

These words can be practiced with a Long or Short i or o Soccer Game. Teams are chosen for either the long vowel sound or the short vowel sound and take turns drawing words to match the pattern.

The words can be printed on “soccer balls” and cut out with a 1 inch circle punch to add to the fun.

The Long or Short i or o Soccer Game is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

WATCH videos & PLAY games online at the Vowels That Vary Wakelet Tutorial, including a wordsearch.

See a slideshow of words that show the contrast between CVC words and CVCC words with a long i & o at More Ways Vowels Can Be Long.

Phonics Pow Wordsearch Puzzles

The Phonics Pow wordsearches at are a good way to practice phonics patterns as they are learned in a sensible sequence that is followed by the Phonics Pow Toolkit. They can be played online or printed out.







Check back, as I continue to add to the list! Find even more word search puzzles at this Pinterest board. The Word Lists are another helpful resource for teaching phonics patterns.

Flossy Words

Flossy Words are one of the short vowel variations covered at the end of the Sound Out Words section of the Phonics Pow Toolkit. (II.c) The letters f, l, s, and sometimes z often (but not always) double at the end of one syllable words with a short vowel.


Turn the drill off in class or it will buzz

Some flossy words are included in the word lists for Word Sort Games and Clip Strips.


WATCH videos and PLAY games at the Flossy Words tutorial at Wakelet.


PLAY a Flossy wordsearch online.

Flossy words are included in the bookmarks with pattern sorts for short vowel variations and can be downloaded for free. The Bee Buzz game and free Flossy Word Treasure are available at Teachers Pay Teachers.


There are some exceptions to the Flossy Word guideline. When the final s makes the sound of /z/ like in is, the letter s does not double. In the words: if, this, us, bus, yes, and gas the final letter does not double. In a few words, other letters double, like: odd, add, and egg.


The letter a can say short o. The -all word family is special. When the letter a comes before -ll, it makes the sound of a short ŏ, like in ball. WATCH a Prezi and a Super Simple turn and learn video.

Learn more about the Phonics Pow Toolkit, how to get free word sort games and more free resources.

Word Lists

When teaching reading, it is important to have access to lists of words for a phonics pattern. The word lists from On Track Reading are helpful, and there are now two word lists available at Phonics Pow.


The first list includes all the words in the free Clip Strips. These are all word families that help to introduce phonics patterns in a sequence while teaching reading. Download the Clip Strip Word Lists pdf.


The next one includes all the words in the Word Sort Games that are designed to go along with the Phonics Pow Toolkit. Download the Word Sort Games Word Lists pdf.

Both are helpful to introduce phonics patterns in a sequence during a reading tutor session.

Strategies For Reading


Learn these helpful strategies while following the sequence for learning how to read. Start with short vowels, blending left to right. Then as more vowel patterns are learned, also scan the word for other parts and patterns.

Silent e – Nōte an e at the end
Bossy R – Observe an R
Diphthongs & Vowel Teams – Look for vowel teams
Syllables – Nōtice a closed or ōpen syllable
More ways that vowels can be long – Bē/gin with long, Vĭs/it short
To Fīnd lŏng, Pĭck Bōth
Tricky Y – Discovery of a Y at the end
Schwa – Be aware of schwa
Be careful with these Consonants that vary
Consonant DigraphsChecking for H Brothers & -ng
Keep Cautious with K & C
Give Care (on a nice page) with G & C

The strategies for reading chart is included in the free CD calendar, and in the Phonics Pow Toolkit.

Author Wiley Blevins

One of the best places to learn about phonics (other than here, of course!) is the book “Phonics from A to Z” by Wiley Blevins. It is one of my phonics favs, and provides tons of great information is a way that is understandable. He provides word lists for each phonogram, books to read for phonics patterns, and much more. One of the things I especially like are the charts that show the frequencies of patterns.

A chart that shows the frequencies of long vowel patterns from the Phonics Pow Toolkit is based on a pdf of English-Language Spelling Pattern Generalizations from

Learn with Wiley Blevins in videos from the Sadlier School Phonics Masterclass on Facebook Live Part One and Part Two. Check out his website at, read A Fresh Look at Phonics at, and 10 Important Reseach Findings at Scholastic.

Clip Strips

Words that have the same ending pattern (rime) often rhyme with the same ending sound. They are sometimes called word families. They are a great way to introduce a pattern that you are learning as part of a reading lesson.

Blending Onset & Rime together is a part of phonemic awareness, an important skill for learning to read.

  • Onset – the part of the word before the vowel
  • Rime – the part of the word with the vowel and what follows it
    (Rime & Rhyme are homophones, words that sound the same but are spelled differently and can have different meanings.)

Some options for free printable word family sliders can be found at my Pinterest board on Word Families and Ladders. I especially like the ones from Little Bunny because there are lots of phonograms. They have cute illustrations and are in black and white so they don’t use a lot of color ink to print. But since compact resources are essential for a portable tutor kit, I created a very plain and simple set of clip strips for this purpose.

Print and Assemble:

  1. After the introduction, the next few pages are an index. The phonics pattern is printed on the left. These are word endings, or rimes. Print the index pages on regular paper & cut across by patterns to use them as labels on long envelopes for storing the strips.
  2. Print the remaining sets of strips on card stock.
  3. Cut the bottom strip off across. These are word endings, or rimes, that will be cut apart to attach to the back of matching strips in step 5.
  4. Cut remaining strips apart horizontally (down). Leaving the top margin and a small right side margin on is helpful.
  5. Cut apart each ending (rime) from the bottom strip (or a 1″ circle punch works) and attach to the back of the matching strip with velcro dots. Store the strips in labeled envelopes.


  1. Select a strip with onsets, and attach the ending (rime) with a velcro dot to a clothespin.
  2. Move the clothespin down the strip, with student blending the sounds into words.

The Clip Strips freebie is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. Visit Word Lists for a free download of the words.

I continue to find patterns and uses for these!

Author Brian P Cleary

Brian P Cleary is a prolific author who has written many books, including the titles below that are perfect for practicing different phonics patterns. Follow the sequence for teaching reading to introduce these.

  • Short u – “The Bug in the Jug Wants a Hug” by Brian Cleary
  • Silent e – “Nice Mice in the Rice” by Brian P Cleary
  • Vowel Teams: AI – “The Frail Snail on the Trail” & EA “The Peaches on the Beaches”
  • Digraphs: “Whose Shoes Would You Choose?,” “The Thing on the Wing Can Sing,” and “Spring in the Kingdom of Ying”
  • Diphthongs: “Whose Shoes Would You Choose?” and “The Clown in the Gown Drives the Car with the Star”

Check out his website at

Learn about more phonics favs, and more books to target specific phonics skills at READ, just read

Mr. Nussbaum

This Phonics Focus is about the website, a Phonics Fav with many free helpful tools and games. More resources can be obtained with a subscription. While there are resources for many subject areas, the language arts category is of most interest for learning to read. Mr. Nussbaum makes great use of audio. In the video, we highlight:

Literacy Tools