Check out our FREE sight word worksheets – we have over 150 in our database!

Sequence of Phonics Instruction – Part III

Sequence of Phonics Instruction – Part III

Phonics relies on letter-sound relationships to teach children to identify words. When teaching phonics a methodical and explicit approach is recommended, begin with the easier relationships and then gradually progress to the more complex letter-sound relationships.

For more information about phonics, please see these two previous post: Sequence of Phonics Instruction – Part I, addressed consonants, short vowels and word families, e.g. VC and CVC (“C” represents consonants while “V” represents vowels), and Sequence of Phonics Instruction – Part II, addressed digraphs, blends and more word families, e.g., CVCC, CCVC and CCVCC. This post will focuses on a few of the relationships that exist among vowels. The English language contains over fifteen vowel sounds. Every word (actually every syllable) needs a vowel – they are a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y.

  1. Long Vowel (Final “e” rule)

    Introduce one syllable words with the final or silent e (CVCe). Typically when you find the letter “e” at the end of a word, it is silent and the preceding vowel represents its long sound (as opposed to short sound).

    Short Vowel Sound
    Long Vowel Sound
    tap
    tape
    Tim
    time
    hop
    hope
    cut
    cute

    We like to refer to this as the magical “e” rule which states: if the “e” sits at the end of a word, it tells the preceding vowel to say its name.

  2. Letters
    Examples
    a_e
    ate , age , ape , cake, made, face, came, name, late, gave, base, tale, game, space, plane
    i_e
    bike, five, ride, time, fire, life, side, nine, bite, like, line, mile, size, mine, wife, drive, write
    o_e
    home, hope, note, rode, nose, joke, bone, tone, pole, vote, phone, whole, drove, stove, rose
    u_e
    mule, cure, pure, sure, fuse, muse, cute

    The magic “e” rule applies to CVCe structured words. However, like most things in life there are exceptions, e.g. come, one, there, eye & done. In addition, words with the following endings do not follow the above rule:

    • Words ending in -le, e.g., apple, bubble & circle (note: these words are NOT one syllable words),
    • Words ending in -ce, e.g., chance, voice & force,
    • Words ending in -se, e.g., coarse, horse & mouse,
    • Words ending in -re, e.g., pure & more, and
    • Words ending in -ve, e.g., live, dove, curve & have.
  3. Long Vowel Digraphs (Vowel Teams)

    The vowel team rule states, when two vowels go walking, the first does the talking – the first vowel says it name (long vowel sound) and the second vowel is silent.

    Letters
    Examples
    Letters
    Examples
    ai
    maid, rain
    ay
    day, stay
    ee
    see, tree, deep
    ea
    eat, leaf, team
    ie
    pie , tie
    oa
    boat, road, soap
    oe
    toe, doe
    ue
    glue, blue, Sue
    ey
    key, monkey

    Similarly, combining the letters “o” and “w” also make the long o sound, e.g. tow and blow. In addition, the letters “e” and “w” make the long u sound, e.g. new and grew.

  4. Irregular Vowel Teams

    The following vowel teams are exceptions to the above rule.

    Letters
    Sound
    Examples
    ea
    Short e
    head, bread
    ei
    Long a
    sleigh, neighbor
    ie
    Long e
    brief, shield

    It is important to point out that the combination of the letters “e” and “a” produce both a long and short e sound as noted below:

    • Short e – e.g., dead, head, lead, spread & thread
    • Long e – e.g., bead, lead, knead & plead.

    Of course, I also must highlight that the word “read”, like work word “lead” above, produces both the short and long e sounds depending on how the word is used.

  5. Now it truly makes sense why it takes a child a few years to obtain a solid foundation of letter-sound relationships when learning to read. Please be on the lookout for our next post which will discuss the remaining relationships that exist among vowels.

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment