Thursday, June 25, 2015

General Spelling and Phonics Rules


First off, all the rules are 'usually' true. There can be exceptions. They also apply to small words and/or individual syllables. Remember that small words and/or syllables are put together to make larger, multi-syllable words.

Short Vowels - A single vowel followed by a single consonant is usually short, as in bag.

Silent E or Long Vowels - A single vowel followed by a single consonant and the vowel E, is usually long, as in cake.

Two vowels together - When two vowels are between two consonants, the first vowel is usually long and the second vowel silent, as in boat.

Silent B - The letter B is silent when it is at the end of the word and following the letter m, as in crumb, pronounced crum with a short U. Note that the sound for B is heard in the word crumble, and that the letter B actually starts the syllable BLE at the end of the word.

Hard C Sound - C represent the same sound that the letter K does, sound when it is followed by the vowels A, O, or U, as in cat, cob, and cut.

Soft C Sound - C represents the same sound that the Hard S does when it is followed by the vowels E, I, or Y, as in cent, city, and cyan.

Hard G Sound - G represents its hard sound when it is followed by the vowels A, O, or U, as in gap, got, and gum. It can sometimes represent its hard sound when it is followed by E or I, as in get and give.

Soft G Sound - G usually represents its soft sound (sounds like a J) when it is followed by E, I, and Y, as in gem, gibe, and gym.

Silent K - The letter K is silent when it is paired with and precedes the letter N in a word or syllable, as in knee.

Hard S - S represents its hard sound when it is at the beginning of a word and not followed by H, as in seal.

Soft S - S usually represents its soft sound, sounds like the Z in haze, when it comes at the end of a word or syllable and when it comes between two vowels, as in has and praise. Some common exceptions to S on the end of the word are bus and this.

Silent W - The letter W is silent when it is paired with and precedes the letter R, is in write.

W is a crossover letter. - W can also act like a silent e when it follows a vowel as in grow.

X represents four sounds. - X says its name in the word x-ray. The sound of X sounds like a Z in the beginning of other words, as in xylophone. The sound of X at the end of most syllables and words sounds like the sound of CKS, as in fox. Now say the word docks. X also represents the sound of K as in the word tuxedo, pronounced tuk-see-doe, with a short u, long e, and long o.

Y is a crossover letter. - Y is a consonant when it is at the beginning of a word or syllable, as in yellow; but acts like a vowel when it's in the middle or at the end of a word or syllable as in symbol and ably.

Here is a video that goes over the various sounds that different letters represent. It goes over the letters that represent single sounds, as well as letters that represent multiple sounds. There are also lessons to help practice.



Sometimes a letter pattern will also represent different sounds. Such as EA. The E in the word lead is long; it says it name and the A is silent. The E in the word bread is short; bread rhymes with bed.

This is not to overwhelm you, but just to let you know that sometimes you also might need to use context clues to help you decipher a new word until you become familiar with that particular word.

For a book that goes over various spelling patterns and also has lesson plans, then I recommend The Spelling Teacher's Lesson a Day book. It features lessons on homophones (words that sound alike), silent letters, contractions, prefixes, and more. It can be used by teachers in classrooms, for homeschooling, for ESL students, tutors, and parents. It has 256 pages.



The Phonics Guide: A Guide to Reading and Spelling Patterns lists various common letter patterns, along with common spelling rules, alphabetically. It is more of a reference book to help reinforce the student's learning, and can also be used as a guide for what to cover for tutors. It has 104 pages.



Take it a step at a time.
Letters and letter patterns make up words.
The letters include vowels and consonants.
Vowels can be long, say their name, or short.
Phonics are the sounds that the letters represent.
Longer words are made up of syllables.
Understanding phonics helps the reader to decipher both short and long words.

Read more General Phonics Rules here.

Cheryl Paton