Learning Phonics Rules
Note: The children need to be proficient and comfortable with phonic sounds and reading before teaching the phonics rules. Otherwise it is like telling a child they must know how to assemble and disassemble a bike before riding…it is too overwhelming.
Consonant letters: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, z and often y. Each letter usually stands for one sound.
The letters c and g have two sounds each called hard or soft. Example:
When either c or g is followed by e, i, or y, the sound is usually soft – cent gem. Other wise the sound is hard – can go.
Consonant digraph: two consonant letters that together stand for a single sound different from either consonant sound alone: chop ship phone think
Silent Letter if two letters together represent the sound of only one of them, the other is “silent”: knot, write, ghost, scent.
Vowel Letters: a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y. Each letter stands for more than one sound. One is called a short sound, and the other is called a long sound (hear phonic sounds for free)
When a short word (or a syllable) ends in a consonant the vowel sound is often short: Hat, hen, hit, hot, hut hymn.
When a short word ends with an e, the first vowel is long and the e is silent: cape, Pete, bite, note, tube dye.
Vowel digraph: two vowel letters that together stand for a single sound: (hear phonics blends)
When a word has two vowel letters together, the first vowel is usually long and the second vowel is usually silent: paid, pay, meal, meet, die, boat, toe
The letters ea can also stand for short e as in bread
When a word or syllable has only one vowel and it is at the end, the vowel is usually long: she, go, sky, pi-lot, so-lo
Vowel diphthong: a vowel blend made up of two adjoining vowel sounds:
When a word has the following vowel combinations, these sounds (diphthongs) are the most common:
ai cain au cause ow cow, crow
ou loud, soup ew knew ei eight
Vowel followed by r: When a vowel is followed by r, the vowel is different from either the long or the short vowel
These have the same sound:
Plural: more than one – cats, glasses
Inflectional endings: s, es, ed and ing are added to base words to indicate number or tense.
play: plays, played, playing
When you add ed or ing to a base word that ends in e, drop the e first:
wave: waved, waving
Compound word: two or more words joined together to make a new word.
sidewalk, outside raindrop
Contraction: two words written as one. An apostrophe replaces the missing letter(s)
can’t for cannot I’ll for I will
More Phonics Rules:
Syllable: a word or part of a word pronounced as a unit. Each syllable contains one vowel sound.
Synonyms: words that have the same, or almost the same meaning.
boat, ship jar, bottle over, above
Antonyms: words whose meanings are opposite, or almost opposite.
good, bad up, down thin, thick
Homonyms: words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings.
here, hear hare, hair to, too, two
Base word or root word: a word without prefixes, suffixes or inflectional endings.
Note: Learning root words can be even more helpful than learning the phonics rules. It can help with reading and spelling. Many words are made up of a root (or base word) and a prefix. Some words also have a suffix. For example, the root word port means to carry or to bear. Attach the prefix ex, meaning out or out of, and you have the word export, to carry out. Attach the prefix im, meaning in or into and you have import, to carry in. Attach the prefix trans, meaning across, and you have transport, meaning to carry across. Now let’s attach the suffix able, meaning able to be, and you have importable, exportable, and transportable. Thus an excellent way to teach spelling, especially to the dyslexic, is to teach root words first, and then add prefixes and suffixes. Ring Around The Phonics is used to teach spelling.
prefix: a word part that can be added to the beginning of a word to form a new word with a different meaning.
suffix: a word part that can be added to the end of a word to form a new word with a different meaning.
tasteless sharpen joyful
Schwa: the vowel sound heard in unstressed syllables, sometimes called a “mummy vowel”.