"Reading R Us"
by Carol Nielson
During their first three years in elementary school, children need to learn basic reading concepts. If they are not learned the first three years, they must learn them some other time in order to be effective readers. By the fourth grade, children shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."
Consonants: most consonants have one sound. Exceptions are:
s - #1 sit, lesson, fuss
#2 (z) dogs, cheese
c - #1 (k) cat, fact, cardiac
#2 (s) city, exception, fancy
g - #1 goat, egg, juggle
#2 (j) gym, large, giant
Blends: These are two or three consonants, either at the beginning or the end of words that have no vowel between them, so their sounds slide into each other. They can be hard to separate into two distinct sounds, especially some of the ending blends. Examples: bl, fr, st, nd, ct, str
Constant Digraphs: these are two consonants that combined to make a new sound. Examples: ch, sh, th, wh
Letter Combination: These are groups of letters that are pronounced in a consistent way. Examples: dge, tch, ing, ank. Or, word families such as: old as in cold, ind and in find, all as in call, and alk as in walk.
Vowels (a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y): They all have from 2 to 5 different sounds.
Vowel combinations: These are combinations of vowels, or a combination of a vowel and a consonant that make a specific sound.
Vowel-teams: these are two vowels that come together and make one sound.
ay - play
ai - sail
ee - tree, meet
ea - eat, bread, steak
igh - light
oa - boat
y - sky, gym, happy
ow - cow, snow
ey - they, key
ie - veil, ceiling
oy - boy
oi - oil
eigh - sleigh
ue - rescue, due
oo - look, moon
ew - few
ou - out, cousin, soup
eu - Europe
au - August
aw - saw
augh - caught
R-controlled vowels: These are vowels followed by an 'r' that changes the vowel's sound or makes it sound like an 'r'.
ar - car, collar
er - perhaps, bigger
ir - dirt
ur - hurt
or - fort, actor
the past-tense suffice 'ed': melted, jumped, called
Silent letter combinations: these are two consonants that come together, but one is silent. Example: wr, kn, ps, gn
Kinds of syllables
recognizing the kind of syllable tells one what the vowel is going to say.
C - Closed syllables...the vowel is closed in at the end by one or more consonants. The vowel is always short.
L - Consonant 'le' syllables...the vowel is a silent 'e' - one does not hear it. This is a final, unchanging syllable that comes at the end of words. Example: 'dle' in cradle. 'cle' in uncle. It is one of the five ways we use silent 'e'
O - Open syllables...the vowel is open at the end. The vowel is usually long. In unaccented syllables 'a' is a schwa as in America. In unaccented syllables 'i' can be long, short or say long e.
V - vowel-team syllables...the vowels say their regular sounds. Examples: meat, snow, join, play or daughter
E - silent 'e' syllables...Examples: home, like, huge, cake, eve.
R - R-controlled syllables...sound like just 'r', 'ar', 'or' Examples: sir, fur, perhaps, or fort
Syllable Division Rules
There are four different ways to divide longer words into syllables. If a child is taught where the word is broken into syllables, they can pronounce it easily.
Look at the word and find what letter or letters says a vowel sound. Then look between the vowels for the number of consonants.
two consonant - usually between the consonants VC/CV. These are different than Compound Words
one consonant - more often divides in front of the consonant V/CV. If that doesn't make a real word, then divide after the consonant VC/V. In some words the word is divided between two vowels. CV/VC or CV/V
Prefixes, Roots and Suffixes
These are the smallest parts of English words that have meaning. If a child can recognize prefixes, roots, and suffixes, and know what they mean, the child will not only be able to read the word, but will also know what it means. If a child knows prefixes, roots, and suffixes, there are thousands of words they will be able to spell without practicing a spelling list.