Many students struggle with split vowel spellings a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e. These are also known as ‘split digraphs’, ‘magic e’ and ‘vowel + e’. These students need extra explicit instruction and practice reading words with these split spellings. It is important to take the time to embed this learning as split spellings are very common in English and students will always stumble when they encounter them in new words if the learning is not secured.
Once I have taught my student to read words with a-e, for example, made, hate, plane, etc he/she will be able to read these words. The problem is being able to switch from the word ‘rat’ to the word ‘rate’. Many students find this difficult. It seems like they have difficulty in swapping one phonological model to another.
Here is a fun way to engage the student in a game to practise this skill:
Make a game like the one below for any split vowel spelling you are working on. If you have our Spin, Read and Spell workbooks you will find a template at the back of the workbook.
Write the two spellings ‘a’ and ‘a-e’ in the spinner part of the sheet.
Ask student to write 10 words with the medial vowel /a/ e.g. mat, pan, van, mad, Dan, rat, plan, fat, tap, hat dotted around the grid.
Now ask the student to write 10 words with the split spelling of a-e, mate, pane, vane, made, Dane, rate, plane, fate, tape, hate.
N.B. if the student has illegible writing the teacher may decide to write the words in the grid as this is foremostly a reading activity.
Take turns to spin the spinner and read the words according to the spelling the spinner has landed on. Each player highlights the words a different colour highlighter. The winner is the player to have lined up 3 of his/her words in a row! N.B. if you don’t have a spinner – you can use a pen/pencil with a paper clip as a substitute for a spinner.