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.

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.

  • 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)

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. The Bee Buzz game and free Flossy Word Treasure are available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

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

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. 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.

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.

SchwaCard

The Schwa sound is often found in words with more than one syllable, so 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).

WATCH

PLAY A free printable Sheriff Schwa Worksheet from teachchildrenesl.com and Schwa maze at English-Zone.com. Pizza! Pizza! printable schwa game from the literacy nest. Online Quiz at purposegames.

 

Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers: Schwa Word Sort and free Schwa Word Treasure game.

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

Bossy R Variations

Vowels can vary in the sounds they make. Here are some of the ways that Bossy R words can vary. First let’s look at what happens when words have both a Silent e and a Bossy R.

SilentevsBossyR

Silent e vs Bossy R

If you find a wire in your spare tire you will see that Silent e wins with -are & -ire. When we explore nature, it is Bossy R that wins with -ore & -ure.  A Silent e vs Bossy R words worksheet is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Super Tutor Tools store.

The Bossy R Schwa

SchwaBossyR

Some words say “er” with different Bossy R spellings. “The pearl is worth a dollar.” In this phrase, all of these spellings make the “er” schwa sound.

The -ear phonogram is quite tricky. You will learn (er) not to fear (long e/r) the bear (“air”) with a big heart (ar). WATCH: ear video from stickyball.net.

EAR3

The -air sound (or phoneme) can be made with several spellings. Besides the ear in bear, AR can say arrow and ER can say error. Be warned that AR can also say OR when it is warm. IR can say a long e in words like spirit & mirror.

AIR

Multiple Meaning Words

MultipleMeaningWords2

When working with Bossy R variations, you may notice that many of these words can be homophones. They sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. “I have a pair of pears.”

You may also see homonyms or homographs, words that are spelled and sound the same but have different meanings. “I will park the car at the park.” In the phrase “There is a tear in my eye as I tear up the paper” the word tear is a hetronym. Hetronyms are a type of homograph that have the same spelling, but a different sound and meaning.

READ “A Bat Cannot Bat, a Stair cannot Stare” by Brian P Cleary, “Dear Deer” by Gene Barretta, “Eight Ate” and “The Dove Dove” by Marvin Terban.

PLAY Categorical Dominoes from Brian P Cleary to practice homophones.

Practice Schwa Bossy R with worksheets that can also be used as word sorts available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. A free copy of the Multiple Meaning Chart can be found there as well. PLAY a homophone Search-a-word puzzle.

Learn more at R is Very Controlling from ogforall.com

More Ways Vowels Can Be Long

Vowels can be long with the Silent e pattern, Vowel TeamsOpen Syllables, and Tricky Y. Two more important long vowel patterns to learn are: i and o can be long when followed by two consonants, and open syllables in two syllable words with one middle consonant. These can be challenging, because in both cases, words may have either the long or short sound.

i and o can be long when followed by two consonants

If you have lŏst a gĭft you know that this is not always so. A strategy for reading is to try it with a long vowel sound to see if it is a recognizable word. If it is not, try it with the short vowel sound.

Strategy: To fīnd lŏng, pĭck bōth

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.

PLAY online: Wild Old Words from learningonlinerocks

Open and Closed Syllables in Two Syllable Words with one middle consonant

TigerCamelWords

The first syllable in two syllable words with one middle consonant can be either long or short, so it is important to understand and practice these words too. Since more are long (60%) than short (40%), try the long vowel sound first to see if it is a recognizable word. If it is not, try it with the short vowel sound.

Strategy: Bē/gin with long, vĭ/sit short

The Tiger & Camel Words Soccer Game is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Vowels That Vary

One of the trickiest things about the English language is that vowels may sometimes look the same and make different sounds. There are even variations with short vowels. (II.b)

WATCH videos and PLAY online games to learn more at the vowels that vary tutorial at Wakelet.

Y at the end of a one syllable word, often says a long “I” as in fly. Learn more about Tricky Y.

Syllables that are closed are usually short, but when you fīnd and lĭft the gōld don’t get lŏst. The letters i and o followed by two consonants can be bōth – short or long.

AlikeO

And that is not all…did I mention that the letter a can say a short ŏ like in watch or in ball? The Sounds of A Worksheet/Word Sort is available at TeachersPayTeachers. Learn more about Short Vowel Variations.

We have met OO/OO, one of the diphthongs. Which might be a foot that is short, or a boot that is too long. How about OU, which can be very rough?More than six sounds can really be tough. i before e is weird too and can vary a lot. i before e, unless foreign scientist Keith leisurely seizes caffeine from feisty atheists.

More vowels that can vary are OW, EA, IE.  When you eat (ē) bread (ĕ ) with a steak (ā) , EA can also say a long a, isn’t that great?

2Sounds

R controlled vowels can vary a lot: AR can sound like ER, as in pillar or dollar. So can OR, when you start your motor. When there is an E before AR all bets are off. It might be ER when you learn, or maybe a long e that you hear. It can even be a polar bear on a chair. Learn more about the Bossy R Schwa sound and other variations.

Last, but not least of all, is the amazing schwa. Any vowel can make this lazy “uh” sound, so watch out for schwas all around!

SchwaCard

These guidelines may help you to figure out the many sounds you will discover all about.

Vowel Teams

Two letters that work together, some vowels work as a team. Two vowels can be a set in a seat and the first one likes to speak.

VowelTeamChair

Vowel Teams (with the exception of diphthongs, which usually make new sounds) are often long, making the sound of the 1st vowel & the 2nd vowel is silent. This guideline is sometimes not reliable, however. There can be many exceptions. EA often makes the long E sound (eat), but sometimes a short E  (bread) or long A (steak). IE often makes the long I sound, but sometimes a long E sound (pie or thief).

WATCH videos and PLAY online games at the Vowel Team tutorial at Wakelet

Please note that many online games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Firefox browser.

WATCH more videos at Kids vs Phonics: A (5:02), E (4:56), I (6:13) O (1:23) U (1:50).

Long Vowel Pattern Chart from This Reading Mama, & Long Vowel Pattern Chart from All About Learning Press (1 page, color)

SORTS Use the words & pictures from Vowel Digraph flashcards at Lanternfish ESL, Long Vowel Match-up from Liz’s Early Learning Spot,  AI/AY picture sort & OA/OW picture sort from 1st Grade & Fabulous (B&W), AI/AY words & picturesOA/OW color pictures from the measured mom

ACTIVITY Vowel Team Clip Cards from Fairy Poppins (includes diphthongs)

PLAY Printable Change game from Adrian Bruce (OA/OW & IE/IGH), Long A Train game & Long E Get the Sheep to the Jeep game from themeasuredmom. Long O Oh no! Toad! game from Fun in 1st with Ms B.

AIAYgame

From the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers: Long A board game with AI & AY,  Long I Oh my! A fly! game & Long U Goose on the Loose game

Bossy R

Bossy R can change CAT into CART! Bossy R likes to be in charge, that is just how they roll. An R behind any vowel changes the sound.

The bird ate corn in the barn. It was her turn. Notice that ER, IR, and UR all have the same sound.

WATCH videos and PLAY online games at the Bossy R tutorial at Wakelet. WATCH Bossy R playlist at PhonicsPow Youtube Channel

Please note that many online games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Mozilla Firefox browser.

LISTEN and play Bossy R words at Quizlet

SORT Bossy R flashcards from Lanternfish ESL with a: Bossy R Handout from mes-english.com as a sort mat.

READ Bossy R sentences from stickyball.net and r-controlled vowels Fluency Passages from razzledazzleclassroom. READ the book: “Bert’s Super Circus” by Lisa Charlesworth (Scholastic Phonics Tales)

PLAY Printable Go Fish game from themeasuredmom (6 pages, 9 per page, color)

birdinthedirt

Bossy R word sort and game, and Bossy R and Consonant Digraph Soccer Sort Game at the Super Tutor Tools Store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Bossy R with Consonant Digraphs

Some words with Bossy R vowels also have a consonant digraph. Practice these words with activities at Shark Chart!

Bossy R Variations

Bossy R can vary sometimes. When Bossy R meets Silent e, Silent e wins sometimes: words with -are can say long a, Examples: care, share, flare. -ire can say long i, Examples: fire, tire, wire. But notice that OR wins: adore, bore, shore, snore & UR wins: nature, picture, treasure.

An e before ar can have many different sounds: long e (hear), “er”(learn), “air” (pear), & “ar” (heart)

Schwa Bossy R and Silent e vs. Bossy R at Teachers Pay Teachers.