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Part 2 – Learning about the vowels

Detailed information is provided about the new alternative spellings, such as the letter ‘y’ replacing the ‘i’ on the end of words and the <ow> digraph having two sounds.

Part 2: Learning about the vowels

 

Most of these alternative spellings are straightforward. The children need to be taught them and encouraged to blend words that use these new letter sounds. However, some of the alternative spellings need a little more explanation. For example, the first two alternative spellings of /ai/ and /oi/ can be taught together. First, the children are reminded that ‹ai› says /ai/ and ‹oi› says /oi/. Then it can be explained to the children that the letter ‹i› is shy and does not like to go on the end of English words, so toughy ‹y› takes its place. I used to do this in a fun way by asking the children to help me write the words day and toy on the board, demonstrating how toughy ‹y› pushes shy ‹i› out of the way each time.  The children now understand that we have another way of spelling the /ai/ and /oi/ sounds: ‹ay› and ‹oy›, which appears in words like way, day, crayons, Tuesday, haystack and holiday, and boy, joy, employ, enjoy, annoying and oyster. More information about shy ‹i› and toughy ‹y› is explained later in Part 4: Helpful hints.

 

The children can now learn another ‹y› spelling. The first ‹y› spelling that they learnt had the /y/ sound, which usually comes at the beginning of words like yes, yell and yap. Next came the ‹y› found at the end of longer words, which tends to have the /ee/ sound, as in story, lorry and foggy. Now, in Step 5, the children need to know that ‹y› can make another sound, the /ie/ sound, as in by, dry and nylon.

 

The other alternative spelling of the /ie/ sound in Step 5 is ‹igh›. This time three letters are used for this sound, which comes in words like tight, high, fight and thigh.

 

The ‹ow› digraph represents two very different sounds. It has an /oa/ sound in yellow, pillow and elbow and an /ou/ sound in owl, crown and flower.  When blending a word with an  ‹ow› in it, the children have to try one way – /oa/ –and if that does not make sense, then they try the other way: /ou/ [demonstration].

 

The children have used this technique before and should know that they have to ask an adult for the word if neither of the words makes sense. For most English-speaking children, the context of what they are reading will guide them to the correct word, as in these sentences: We need to row the boat to the other side of the river. We liked the funny clowns at the circus.

 

The soft ‹c› and soft ‹g› need some explanation. Up until now, the letter ‹c› has had a /k/ sound. Now the children need to be taught that it sometimes has a /s/ sound. This usually happens when the letter ‹c› is followed by the vowels ‹e›, ‹i› or ‹y›:

 

ce                          ci                           cy

face                      city                       cycle

cent                    pencil                     cygnet

space                   circus                    cylinder

 

It is much the same with the soft ‹g› words. Up until now, the letter ‹g› has had a /g/ sound; now the children need to be taught that it sometimes has a /j/ sound. It is the same ‹e›, ‹i› or ‹y› after the ‹g› that softens the sound to a /j/ [demonstration]. It does not always do this, however; in the frequently used word get, it is still a /g/ sound, but this is unusual. The children can be reminded to use both ways, so if /j/ does not work, try /g/.

 

ge                          gi                         gy

page                    giant                    energy

large                    magic                 vegetable

gentle                  ginger               gymnastics

  • Step 5 - Word Bank

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on coloured card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 5 - Word Bank - print letters

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on colored card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 5 - Letter Sounds

    The letter sounds taught in Step 5 are provided. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters.

  • Step 5 - Letter Sounds - print letters

    The letter sounds taught in Step 5 are provided. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters.

  • Step 5 - Word Bank

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on coloured card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 5 - Word Bank - print letters

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on colored card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 5 - Tricky Words - reading - b&w

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 5 - Tricky Words - reading - colour

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 5 -TW_reading_b&w_print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 5 -TW_reading_color - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 5 - Tricky Words - writing - b&w

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 5 - Tricky Words - writing - colour

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 5 - Tricky Words - writing - b&w - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 5 - Tricky Words - writing - color - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 5 - Sentences

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 5 and the tricky words 1 - 60. At this stage they are particularly useful for the children who need extra practice reading sentences that use the letter sounds and tricky words taught in Step 5.

  • Step 5 - Sentences - printed letters

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 5 and the tricky words 1 - 60. At this stage they are particularly useful for the children who need extra practice reading sentences that use the letter sounds and tricky words taught in Step 5.