I before E is Weird

Eight (ā) thieves (ē) tried (ī) to deceive (ē).

You may have heard this saying: i before e, except after c, and when sounding like a, as in neighbor and weigh. This is a guideline where there are quite a few exceptions: i before e, unless foreign scientist Keith leisurely seizes caffeine from feisty atheists.

Generally speaking, i before e (as in thief and tried)

except after c (as in deceive)

or when sounding like a, as in neighbor or weigh (and eight)

This is just one of the ways that vowels can vary. Practice with the I before E is Weird set of worksheets, available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Hard or Soft C and G

The letters C and G can make hard or soft sounds.

C is often hard /k/ before A, O & U. With the others, a soft C /s/ will do.

The words in the word families of -ace and -ice have the soft C sound.  C before e will often soft be. These are Silent e words.

G is often hard before A, O & U. With the others, a soft G will often do.

(But this is not always true, which you know if you get a gift given to you!)

G before e will often soft be. Words that end in -ge or -dge have the soft G sound of /j/. Defender d can stop the vowel from being long in some Silent e words.

Sight words with:

  • Hard c /k/: can, came, car, cut
  • Soft c /s/: face, place, space, sentence
  • Hard g: go, got, big, give
  • Soft g /j/: large, page, change

Keyword sentence: I got a large change when I came to this place.

There are some words with short vowels that have a hard or soft c and g, but many more have advanced vowel patterns. Because of this, hard or soft c and g (IV.b)  are introduced after learning about Defender d at the end of the Silent e section in the Phonics Pow Toolkit. (III.a) Download worksheets or the free anchor charts with word lists for hard or soft c and g at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. The Consonant Variations soccer sort game includes hard or soft c and g, plus the ending sound of /k/.

WATCH videos and PLAY games about hard or soft C and G at the Wakelet tutorial on hard or soft C and G.

Learn how to get the free word sort games that include hard or soft c and g. Game boards for hard or soft c and g are part of the Phonics Pow Toolkit.

Long Vowel Patterns

To know all of the ways that vowels can be long, learn about:

IGH is a trigraph – one sound is made with three letters. The gh is silent and the i is long. The sound of IGH is included with vowel teams in the Phonics Pow Toolkit, as the other vowels have teams that make the long sound, but i only has the trigraph IGH. Learn more about the vowel trigraphs AIR and EAR at Bossy R variations. WATCH videos on igh from Little Learners and Kids vs. Phonics, and try a long i wordsearch.

IGH is included in the Vowel Teams section of the Phonics Pow Toolkit. III.4

  • ā – ai & ay
  • ē – ea & ee
  • ī – igh
  • ō – oa & ow
  • ū – ui & ew

Can you identify all the long vowel patterns in the sentences below?

LONG I: The pilot tried to fly kind of high for a mile.

More sentences with long vowel patterns:

LONG A: They say the lady will take the train today at eight.

LONG E: We even like these crazy sheep that bleat.

LONG O: Put a coat on to go home in the cold snow.

LONG U: The cool jewel on her blue suit was super huge.

Word searches for long e, i, o , & u. Download the free Long Vowel Sentences  anchor chart pdf. Long vowel patterns are included in free word sort games and in the Phonics Pow Toolkit. (III.f)

LongVowelPatterns

This chart with helpful color coding from the Long Vowel Patterns section of the Phonics Pow Toolkit shows some examples.

Oh, Those OUGH Words!

The phonogram OUGH is one of the toughest in the English language, with at least six different pronunciations.

Although (long o) I ate when I was through (ew) ploughing (ow) the garden, the meat I bought (short o) was so tough (short u) it made me cough (short o).

In some words:

  1. ough = ow (gh is silent): plough, bough, drought.
  2. ough = ō (gh is silent): dough, although, thorough.
  3. ough = ŏ (gh = /f/): cough, trough
  4. ough = ŏ (gh is silent): ought, bought, fought, brought, sought, thought.
  5. ough = ŭ (gh = /f/): rough, tough, enough.
  6. In the word “through,” ough = ū (gh is silent)

Practice OUGH words at Quizlet, and highlight the OUGH words in the sentences at BBC Bitesize.  LISTEN at pronunciationcoach.blog, and WATCH the video below from the “I Love Lucy” show.

When we learn about diphthongs, the main sound of OU is OW, but it can vary, as seen in these OUGH words. A few more ways that OU can vary are seen in the Nessy Reading Strategy video on OU and in the sentence below.

I thought (short o) our (ow-r) chicken soup (long u) for the young (short u) soul (long o) could (oo) be about (ow) cool enough (short u) to pour (long o-r).

A worksheet for Oh, Those OUGH words! is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

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

Short Vowel Variations

After learning about short vowels and consonant blends, learn about short vowel variations. II.c SOUND OUT WORDS – Short vowel variations.

Flossy Words. The letters f, l, s (and sometimes z) often double at the end of one syllable words with a short vowel. Turn the drill off in class or it will buzz.

FlossySpot&Dot

The letter a can say short o. The -all word family is special. In these flossy words the letter a makes a short ŏ sound. WATCH a Prezi and a Super Simple turn and learn video. Play a word search game at Turtle Diary. The letter a can say short ŏ before -ll, and after w and qu. Watch the dog play squash with the ball. A Sounds of A worksheet is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Closed syllables often have a short vowel, but sometimes not. The letters i and o can sometimes be long when followed by two consonants (but not always!) Fīnd and lĭft the lŏst gōld.

Some one syllable words make a schwa sound. Schwa is often a quick and light “uh” sound. Hear the schwa in these sight words: the sled was a lot of fun. And in these words with the letter o: My son won a ton of money a month from the lottery.

The /k/ sound at the end of one syllable words with short vowels is often spelled -ck. The duck said “quack” on the deck near a slick dock. Try an online wordsearch for the -ck ending.

Some words with short vowels have consonant digraphs. Digraphs are two letters that make one sound, and these consonant letters together make a new sound.

Download bookmarks with pattern sorts for short vowel variations: flossy words, a can say o, ck endings, and short vowels with digraphs. Get free word sorts that include these patterns.

Short Vowel Variations BookmarksLearn about more ways that vowels can vary.

Tricky Y

The letter y is tricky indeed. It can make many sounds, more than three!

Yes, y is a consonant in yellow and yolk.

Sometimes y makes a short i sound like in system and gym.

A y at the end can a vowel be, with the sound of a long i or e. How do you know which you see? At the end of one syllable words, y often says “i” like in fly. With more syllables, it is often a long e.

There are some exceptions, like the one syllable word “key” with the long e sound. (Hey! No Way! -ey can sound like a long a in some words like grey, and the vowel team -ay a long a will say.) You can’t deny y is long i in two syllable words like: July, supply, reply, rely, and apply. Some two syllable words go in the long i pile like typist and style.

WATCH videos and PLAY online games about Tricky y at the Vowels That Vary Wakelet tutorial.

Download a free handout on Tricky Y, and get a Y flower sort game.

Practice Tricky Y with a story and word sort at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

10 Steps to Reading

Learn skills for reading with the following ideas. These tips include some of my favorite free online resources.Reading101

Download the 10 Steps to Reading (pdf)

1. Learn letter names  & sounds, and practice hearing and manipulating sounds; Phonemic awareness.

2. Sound out words with short vowels and CVC words (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant), practice with word families, then continue with consonant blends.

3. Learn phonics patterns in a sensible sequence as the student is ready. Try the phonics presentations at ReadingBear.org and watch fun videos that cover many phonics patterns with Kids vs Phonics from RedCatReading.

4. Practice patterns with picture and word sorts.

5. Play games that encourage literacy. Hands on games include traditional games like Boggle and Bananagrams, as well as many free printable games that can be found through links on specific phonics skills. Free online games are also available at this Symbaloo. Some online games require flash, which is no longer supported after 12/31/2020. Learn more at The End of Flash.

6. Read books to practice the patterns. The books from Progressive Phonics are free, fun, and practice the phonics patterns. They can be printed or read online.

7. Learn sight words. Many high frequency words are not decodable with phonics guidelines.

8. Encourage reading 20 minutes a day. Children who do this from Kindergarten through 6th grade score 90% better than their peers on tests. Check out more Benefits of reading.

9. Use your library. Attend storytimes, participate in summer reading programs, check out books & online resources. Choose fun books at the right level.

10. Read “Phonics from A to Z” by Wiley Blevins (online at issuu) and learn literacy terms.

Credits: Some artwork copyrighted by Mark A Hicks, illustrator, www.MARKiX.net. Used with permission. Sources for other graphics at PinterestPattern charts from boostforreaders

Learn more at Reading Basics from ReadingRockets.org. They have a Get Ready to Read screening tool too.

Sequence for teaching reading

PhonicsSequence

The sequence followed by different methods of teaching reading can vary. The Phonics Pow Toolkit is designed to help teachers teach, and students learn with a sensible sequence that builds on skills as they are learned. It is organized in five sections, with most sections having three parts (except the vowel pattern section, which has six). Color coding often provides clues, like the color RED (a CVC word with a short vowel) for the SOUND OUT WORDS section. As much as possible, one syllable words that include only patterns that have been learned are used until the final section.

Closed syllables often have a short vowel (with some exceptions). Open syllables have a long vowel sound, and are most often found in words with more than one syllable. However, there are some one syllable words that are open, like: he, me, we, no, go, and so. These are sight words that are frequently seen in written text, so introducing open and closed syllables with one syllable words is a good plan.

Blends are introduced next, with words that have a short vowel.

Consonant patterns are placed together in one section for convenience. Digraphs are a pair of letters that represent one sound. Consonant digraphs make new sounds, and may be introduced with words that have a short vowel at the end of the SOUND OUT WORDS section. Many words with consonant digraphs have advanced vowel patterns that have not been introduced yet, so those are covered as patterns are learned.

The schwa sound is usually a quick and weak “uh” that can be made by any vowel. It is often found in words with more than one syllable. However, there are a few one syllable words with the schwa sound like: of, from, and was. At the end of the silent e section, more is learned with words like “love” and “gloves,” which make the schwa sound instead of being long. The idea of schwa is introduced as a way that vowels can vary.

Learning Vowel Patterns begins with Silent e, then Bossy R, followed by Diphthongs and Vowel Teams. Vowel digraphs or combinations are separated into those that often make a long vowel sound (vowel teams) and those that make mostly new sounds (diphthongs). When diphthongs are introduced first, many of the remaining combinations make a long vowel sound. However, this is not always reliable, and there are many exceptions to learn about, so they are the last vowel patterns to learn. The final section includes Consonant-le syllables and more work with multi-syllable words.

I. GET READY

II. SOUND OUT WORDS

III. VOWEL PATTERNS

  • Silent e – follow  with Silent e variations: g before e will often soft /j/ be, c before e will often soft /s/ be in -ace & -ice word families and s =/z/ in some words, words with a schwa sound (some love gloves)
  • Bossy R
  • Diphthongs – vowel combinations that make (mostly) new sounds
  • Vowel Teams that are often long
  • Vowels that vary
  • Long Vowel Patterns

IV. CONSONANT PATTERNS

V. MULTI-SYLLABLE WORDS

Phonics instruction that is systematic (presented in a logical sequence) and explicit (directly taught) has been shown by research to be beneficial in teaching reading. Learn more about the Phonics Pow Toolkit and how to be a super reading teacher.

Learn the Alphabet

Letter knowledge is one of the key skills to master reading.

WATCH videos of letter sounds from Turtle Diary at this Symbaloo collection and at this Wakelet.

WATCH more videos at the Letter Sounds Wakelet, the Alphabet Animals Wakelet, the Phonograms Wakelet, and the Short or Long Vowels Wakelet.

Play online alphabet games at Wakelet

Read Animal Alphabet books.

More Alphabet Resources:

PLAY Printables: Alphabet Chutes and Ladders: lowercase & uppercase from Super Simple, Mailbox ABC from Totschooling (6 pages, color), Fishing for Letters from Kindergarten Crayons (7 pages, color), Sammy the Starfish from Fuelthebrain.

consonants

Active, Board, and Card games at the ABCs of Games For Reading.

Sight Words

binoculars

Phonics guidelines can often be helpful, but there are some words that are not easily decodable.

Sight words are frequently found in written text, and many are not decodable with phonics guidelines. When these words are learned, a large percentage of written text can be read. E.W. Dolch identified 220 words and 95 nouns. In 1996, Dr. Fry expanded on the Dolch list and published “Fry 1000 Instant Words.” In his research, Dr. Fry found that:
• 25 words make up approximately 1/3 of all published text
• 100 words make up approximately ½
• 300 words are 65%
• The full list of 1000 words makes up 90% of all published text

WATCH videos and PLAY online games at the Sight Word tutorial at Wakelet

Some online games require flash, which is no longer supported after 12/31/2020. Learn more at The End of Flash

WATCH more videos at the Sight Word playlist at Phonics Pow Youtube channel

PRACTICE Fry Sight Words (with audio) at Quizlet.com.

FRY SIGHT WORDS

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DOLCH SIGHT WORDS

FLASHCARDS

READ Phrases with Fry Instant Words from http://www.uen.org & Fry Fluency Sentences from Curriculum Corner. 220 Dolch sight words in a story from Mrs. Perkins.

PLAY Printables:

BuildaSentence

Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers:

FREE! Roll a (sometimes silly) Sight Word Sentence – to make this into a sentence shake cut the columns of words apart and put them in bottles.

sightwordsentences

The Roll a Color Sight Word Game pictured below uses the first 100 Fry words, or use any sight word flashcards and mark them with the colors.

rollacolor1

PLAY more printable games: Sight Word Last Card from sightwords.com, Battling for Sight Word Treasures from Liz’s Early Learning Spot, Gone Fishing editable Sight Words from thisreadingmama, Sight Word Scrabble from craftnectar. (The last two may not fit easily in the portable Phonics Kit, but look fun!)