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 found in unstressed syllables, and very similar to a short u, but is softer and weaker.


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).


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.

More Resources

PLAY A free printable Sheriff Schwa Worksheet from and Schwa maze at 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