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Sorting Out Spelling Rules!
( 9/24/14 )

word version

 

"By the age of ten or twelve, most children reach a fairly mature level of spelling ability. They are familiar with the most frequently used spelling patterns; they understand how to form plural nouns (book, books; box, boxes) or to change verb tenses (raise, raised, raising); they know how to form contractions (don't) and compound words (classroom ); they have learned many words that have unusual spellings (neighbour, sight ); and they can distinguish between words with the same sounds but different spellings and meanings (right and write or wood and would ). (Katy Independent School District, http://www.katyisd.org/files/curriculum/curriculum/spellingStages.doc)




Here are several spelling rules. There are many ways you can study spelling words and here are a few suggestions:

1.    list other words that follow the rule or are exceptions

2.    look for other 'rules' that the spelling words follow  e.g. deceive (i.e. rule; VCV rule)

3.    go to the list of Frequently Misspelled Words and see if you can say the rule, check to see if you are correct

4.    make up flashcards of the spelling words

5.    make up flashcards with words following a rule on one side, and the rule printed on the other side

6.    try to use these words in your daily writing

7.    go to Puzzlemaker and use spelling words you have trouble with to create word search 

8.    go to Basic Skill Practice Games to practice you overall spelling skills

9. also check out this list of words we frequently misuse Fun With Words

 

 

For more ideas that you can run off, go to http://www.sd91.bc.ca/frenchj/Students/Ideas%20for%20Studying%20Spelling%20Words.rtf

 

 

 

 


Quick links:

 

 

apostrophes (possessives)

 

CVCC and CVC (Inflected Endings)

 

CVCe, CVCV, CVVC & igh (long vowels)

 

CC or CCC (Blends, Complex Consonants)

 

compound words

 

contractions

 

digraphs

 

gh and ph = 'f' sound

 

hard and soft c and g

 

homonyms

 

ow

 

plural nouns

 

qu

 

ie or ei

 

r controlled vowels

 

silent letters

 

vowels (vowels including y)

 

vowel digraph

 

vowel diphthong (e.g. ow, ou, oi, oy)

 

vowels: other vowel sounds (short o sound e.g. al, aw, au, wa)

 

Assimilated Prefixes

 

Affixes (simple suffixes)

Affixes (complex suffixes)

-ence, ance

 

 

 



" CVCC" and CVC

"when a single vowel is followed by consonants the vowel makes a 'short' vowel sound"
- shop                      - hip
- effect                     - across
- went                      - bump
- blend                     - stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inflected Endings 1 "if the single vowel is short, double the consonant before adding ed, ing, or es to keep the first vowel short "
- begin .........beginning                    hop........hopping    (or else it says hoping)
- shop ...........shopping                    tap..........tapping
    (or else it says taping)    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Inflected Endings 5 "when a long vowel word ends with an e, we drop the e before adding 'ing', 'ed' or 'est'

- bake .........baking                    fine........finest         (or else it reads fineest)
- bike ...........biked                     wipe..........wiping
    (or else it reads wipeing)    

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

" CVCe, CVCV and ight (long vowel sounds) * four typical conditions

1) CVCe or CVCV

1) "a single vowel followed by one consonant followed by one vowel usually makes a 'long' vowel sound...vcv.
- home, bake, wise, cube,
hobo, basic, human, ruby, final, mutate, rotate, tiny

2) two vowels side by side
- goat, seat, moan, coach

3) a single consonant followed by a by a single vowel
- no, go, b
e

4) igh
- sigh, fight, right


exceptions
* prefixes usually spell their long-vowel sound with only one letter, regardless of the next letters
- preschool

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


" 2) CVVC"

"when two vowels go walking (side by side), the first one does the talking (makes the long sound) "
- leaves, wheat, sleep, rain, teaching, peach, reap, boat, coal

exceptions
-  bread, said, wealthy, death

 

3) CVVC"

when 'igh' come together in a word, the 'i' is long
- light, bright, sigh, fright, delight, twilight, knight

exceptions
-  eight, weight, freight

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"CC" or CCC separate sound (phonics terminology)

* a blend is when two or more consonant are together and you can hear their two sounds
- small
- blend
- flee
- drop
- slid
- stop


- swing
- spend
- bleed
- free
- please
- bring
- crop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complex Consonants (sometimes there are three consonants together, or one consonant is silent)
- tch as in 'batch'
- dge as in 'badge'
- scr as in 'scrub'
- squ as in 'squawk'
- kn
as in 'know' (the 'k' is silent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

double consonant in the middle of a word (sometimes you will see a double consonant in a word so that the first vowel stays short)

* think about what the first vowel would say if there was only one consonant

- funnel
- funny
- shutter
- tweezer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"CC" or CCC one sound (phonics terminology)

a digraph is when two or more consonant sounds are pronounced together as one sound
- thing
- where
- chug
- duck
- cash
- shore

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


" i.e."

"i before e except after c or when it sounds 'ay' as in neighbour or weigh"
i before e

- belief
- believe
- chief
- experience
- relief
- chief

after c
- perceive
- receipt
- receive

sounds like 'ay'
- neighbour
- weigh

exceptions
- height
- weird
- their


* names usually follow the exception (Booth, Jack and Linda Booth, Spelling Essentials)
- Sheila
- Neil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

apostrophes

"we use an apostrophe to show a letter missing or to show possession"

missing letter for a contraction
- can't
can not
- won't
- I'll
- it's
- hasn't

to show possessive nouns not its as in 'its home'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

possessives: we also use an apostrophe to show ownership

possessive singular nouns
- cat's whiskers

- car's hood
- boy's hair
- John's coat

possessive purual nouns
- cats' climbing tree

- cars' horns
- boys' team
- pigs' pen

possessive exceptions
- its colour

- its battery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"plural nouns" plural, more than one

* Inflected Endings 3 : adding s or es
The most common way to form a plural noun is to add 's'.
add s
- boat.................boats
- helmet............helmets
- flower .............flowers
- apple ..............apples

When the noun ends in ch, sh, ss or x, we add 'es'.
add es
- lunch...............lunches
- dish................dishes
- box..................boxes
- church ............churches
- fox ...................foxes
- dress ..............dresses
- ax ....................axes

 

* exception: If there is a vowel just before the y, we just add 's'.

- day ......days
- relay ......relays
- boy ......boys


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



* Inflected Endings 2: changing last consonant to make it plural

When the noun ends in 'y', change the 'y' to an 'i' and add 'es'. 


- bunny ......bunnies
- penny ......pennies
- candy ......candies

When the noun ends in f, change the 'f' to a 'v' and add 'es'.  

- leaf ...........leaves
- loaf ...........loaves
- shelf .........shelves
- wolf ..........wolves

 

exception: if there is a vowel just before the y or the f, add 's'

- day ......days
- relay ......relays


- belief ...........beliefs

 

Irregular Plurals: sometimes the entire word changes

- child ........children
- mouse .....mice
-
foot ..........feet
- ox ............oxen

 


      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"hard and soft c and hard and soft g"'

"when 'c' or 'g' are followed by 'e', 'i' or 'y', they make their soft sound "
soft c
- cent
- cycle
- Cindy

soft g
- gentle
- gym
- giant


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


" r contolled words: the 'r' controls the sound of the vowel

ar
- car
- bargain
- star

 

or (including our)

- born
- fort
- forty
- short

- four
- your



'er' sound

"there are three spellings for the 'er' sound: er, ir, and ur "
er
- her
- berth ( e.g. a bed on a ship)
- German

ir
- fir (tree)
- shirt
- stir
- thirty

ur
- burn
- fur (hair on a dog)
- hurt
- surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"silent letters"

"sometimes, individual letters or groups of letters are silent "
gh
- eighth
- sight
- though
- neighbour
- slough

wr
- write
- wren

kn
- know
- knee
- knowledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


" contractions"

"two words contracted into one using an ' to mark missing letters; sometimes the first word changes as well"
- cannot ................can't
- will not ................won't
- have not .............haven't
- is not ..................isn't
- I will ....................I'll
- they will ..............they'll
- they are .............they're
- we are ...............we're

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"compound words"

"a compound word uses two smaller words together"
- bathroom
- bootroom
- classroom
- houseboat
- housecoat
- doghouse
- policemen
- backyard


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"homonyms" (see homonyms to see a larger list)

"two or three words can sound the same but are spelled differently"
- allowed, aloud
- bear, bare
- blue, blew
- dear, deer
- fir, fur
- pair, pear
- their, there, they're
- principle, principal
- weather, whether     (although these two words should sound slightly different, they seldom do)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vowels (the alphabet is made up of two types of letters, vowels and consonants)

vowels: a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y

consonants: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

short vowels

'a' as in 'hat'

'e' as in 'pet'

'i' as in 'pit''

'o' as in 'hot'

'u' as in 'hut'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

long vowels (4 conditions vowels are usually long)

'a' as in 'make''

'e' as in 'lead'

'i' as in 'pile''

'o' as in 'poke'

'u' as in 'tune'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

y as a vowel, y as a consonant

'y' as a vowel is in the middle or end and says 'i' or 'e' as in 'by' or 'funny'

'y' as a consonant say 'yeh' as in 'yellow' or 'yam'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vowel Digraph (phonics terminology)

"oo"

"two vowels together that make a single sound are called a vowel digraph as in ' oo' as in look "
- hook
- shook
- brook

"oo as in spoon "
- groom
- balloon
- soon

"ou as in cough "
- trough

"ou as in tough "
- rough
- enough

  "ei as in sleigh "
- weigh
- rein

"ea as in bread"
- tread
- thread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* sometimes these are confusing, read the paired words below

** note the different ways to spell a single sound

"oo sound as in took "
- took, put

"oo sound as in spoon"
- spoon, tune

"short o sound as in saw "
- 'al' as in all, stall, balk

- 'aw' or 'wa' as in fawn, straw, want
- 'au' as in taught, caught
- 'ou' as in fought, sought, bought


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vowel Diphthong (two vowels together make two sounds or a vowel combined with w and y to make new sounds) (Booth, Jack and Linda Booth, Spelling Essentials) also see phonics terminology

two vowel letters together that are closely blended but where you can hear two sounds gliding together e.g. listen to the glided 'ou' sound and take note of how your mouth changes
- hour
- sour
- boil
- toil
- shout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"ow "

"sometimes a vowel/consonant combination makes two different sounds"

"ow as in cow"
- bow
- brown
- towel

or "ow as in snow "
- know
- flow
- bow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vowels: other vowel sounds

"sometimes when a vowel is paired with another vowel or a specific consonant, it makes a short 'o' sound"
- tall, balk, stalk (al)
- crawl, shawl, dawn (aw)
- fault, taught, thought
(au or ou)
- wasp, fawn, want, raw (with w)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"qu"

"q is always followed by u "
- quack
- acquire
- query


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

" gh and ph can say ‘f’ "
- graph
- phlegm
- laugh
- cough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assimilated Prefixes (some prefixes change the spelling of their final letter in order to make the 'reading' easier

example #1
prefix 'ad' means 'to or toward' change 'ad' to make the word easier to say
adtest attest (changed 'd' to a 't')
adfect affect (changed 'd' to an 'f')
accelerate, allocate, aggression, arrive, assume, accuse, attention, assent

 

example #2

prefix 'in' means 1) 'in', 'into', or 'on', or 2) 'not' change 'in' to make the word easier to say
inluminate illuminate (changed the 'n' to another 'l')
inrigate irrigate (changed the 'n' to another 'r')
illiterate, import, irrigate, illegal, improper, irregular, irrational, ignoble

 

 

 

 

 

Affixes (An affix means to attach. In English we can look a prefixes (something added infront of a word) and suffixes (something added to the end of a word). Prefixes and suffixes usually change the meaning of the rootword (a word without an affix).

Prefixes: below are some common prefixes and their meanings (note the change in meaning of the rootword.

un- means ' not or the opposite of' e.g. tie - untie (the opposite of)

pre- means 'before' e.g. read - preread (to do before, not now)

re- means 'back, again' e.g. paint - repaint (to do again)

 

Suffixes: below are some common suffixes and their meanings (note the change in meaning of the rootword.

-ate means 'to make or to do' e.g. active - activate (to make active)

-ent means 'one who acts' e.g. assist - assistant (the person who assists)

-ize also means 'to make or to do' e.g. alphabet - alphabetize (to put in alphabetical order)

-tion means 'action or state of being' e.g. starve - starvation (in the state of starving)

-ure means 'state of, act, process) e.g. fail - failure (in the state of failing)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Suffixes

Inflected Endings 4: 'ed' makes three sounds, 't', 'ed' or 'id', 'd'.

jumped......'ed' sounds like a 't'

planted......'ed' sounds like a 'ed' or 'id' (depending on how we pronounce it)

rowed......'ed' sounds like a 'd'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affixes (complex suffixes)

-ible, able

* if the suffix is added to a base word that stands alone, it is usually –able (comfortable)
* if it is attached to a word root (e.g. ed, aud), it is usually -ible (edible)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-sion, -tion

* if the suffix is added to a base word that ends in –de or -it, we just add –sion (division)
* if the suffix is added to a base word that ends in –te or -ce, the word will end in -tion (reduction)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-ence, -ance

* if the suffix is added to a base word that ends with ‘ent’, the suffix is usually –ence (silent/silence)
* if the suffix is added to a base word that ends with ‘ant’, the suffix is usually –ance (brilliant/brilliance)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-le, -al, -el

* -le is the most common (nouns, verbs, adjectivies)
      - usually after words ending with a stick (b, d, f, h, k, l, t) or a tail (g, j, p, q, y)
      - apple, candle


* -
al is usually added to adjective (desciptive words) but a few nouns
* -el is the least common ending and usually on nouns (person, place or thing) and verbs (action words)
      - usually after words not ending with a stick or a tail

      - funnel, travel, vocal, usual

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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