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Step 7: Adding Syllables Together & Schwa (ə)

Schwa Poster. Any vowel can make the short u sound.
Schwa
Add syllables together and Break Apart Big Words Directions
Breaking up big words simplified

Definitions:
A syllable is a unit of pronunciation with one vowel sound. It could be the whole word or it could be part of a word. The vowel sound in a syllable is made by one or more vowels.
∙One syllable word: bike.
∙Two syllable word eagle.
∙Three syllable word: elephant.

The schwa sound is /ŭ/ (the unaccented short ŭ sound) and is represented with this symbol: Ə. Any vowel or vowel combination in any syllable might have a schwa sound and say /ŭ/. An example is the letter “e” in the word “the.” In words with 3 or more vowel sounds, one of the syllables often has a schwa sound. (The vowel sound in the second syllable in eagle, and the second and third syllables in elephant are schwa sounds.)


Teaching icon Teaching/Learning to Read Teaching icon 2


teachingvideos

Teaching Videos

Spaceship Schwa Story
How to break apart big words to read them

Book Shelf Practice Reading Book Shelf


KEY:
Blue Heart: Beginning, grades K-1K-1 Beginning
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-21-2 Growing
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeIntervention/Challenge
* A favorite!

Bundle: Additional various activities to practice a specific skill
Pack: Additional multiple versions of a specific activity to practice a specific skill

bundlesandpacks

Schwa cover pageSchwa & Multiple Syllable words Bundles!

Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Schwa Beginning Bundle Schwa words

Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC Multiple Syllable Beginning Bundle CVC Reading bigger words
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCV CVC Multiple Syllable Beginning Bundle CV CVC Reading bigger words

*See Challenge Schwa Endings Bundles at the bottom of this page (these are also in Step 10)*



Individual Materials including materials for more advanced learners:

Lists

Lists icon Word and Phrase Lists

The idea is to notice the schwa sound in these words. Draw a schwa symbol (Ə) over the schwa sound in each word. *Changing a vowel sound to a schwa sound is a very common way to figure out an unknown word that is not read correctly the first time.*

Schwa Lists

Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Schwa 25 Most Common Ə Words list
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Schwa 25 Most Common Ə Words and Phrases
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Schwa Ə Phrases with the 25 Most Common Ə Words

Often Used 2+ Syllable Schwa words:
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Schwa Mega Soda (When the letter a is alone as the first syllable in a word it is often a schwa.)
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeSchwa Common Ə Wordlist challenge

Multiple Syllable Word Lists

Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC Multiple syllable short vowel Lists by Vowel
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC dividing multiple syllable words MUSTANG (also in Step 4 Magic e)
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC dividing multiple syllable words Crazy Nonsense Words
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC multiple syllable phrases Chipmunk: Bigger Word Phrases
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC CV (and some other syllable types) Teaching Sheet The Long and Short Of It
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CV Mixed challenge wordlist Robot Says Hi
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC CV Open Closed Read and Spell
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC CV multiple syllable words and phrases I prefer Rodents
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC CV multiple syllable Nonsense Words syllable division cv or cvc
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2* VCE 2 syllable vce to put together and read Explore broken into syllables (also in Step 4 Magic e)
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC CV VCE Multiple syllable divisions Which Side Should I Go? broken into syllables
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCVC CV VCE multiple syllable phrases We Can Do This

Flashcards

Flashcard icon Flashcards

Common Schwa Word Flashcards

Games

Games Icon Games

Game Directions

Multiple Syllable Games

Play detective!   While reading keep a lookout for schwa words.  How many can you find?

Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple syllable game Reading Bigger Words 1 (also in beginning reader Bundle)
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple syllable game Reading Bigger Words 2 (also in beginning reader Bundle)
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple Syllable phrases Hiking 1
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple Syllable phrases Hiking 2
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CV CVC Initial open syllable word game 1 This Baby is Not Silent! (also in Step 3 open syllable)
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCV CVC Multiple syllable nonsense words Crazy Nonsense
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCV CVC Initial open syllable word game 2 Locate the Super Zebra (also in Step 3 open syllable)
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeCV CVC Initial open syllable phrases Open for Business! (also in Step 3 open syllable)

Just for fun
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeName Your Robot nonsense syllables fun sheet Project Robot (also in Step 2)

Spelling

Lists icon Spelling

Practice with words from the lists, games etc., or use the lists below.
* Having learners spell with word chains where the coach says “change one sound in (chop) to spell (chip), now change one sound in (chip) to spell (sip)” is a powerful way to draw student’s attention to individual sounds in the words!

When learning to spell words with a schwa:
* One way to remember challenging words is to use a ‘spelling voice’. Pronounce the word the way it would be pronounced if the vowel sound was stressed, or the word followed the rules. (Many of us learned to spell Wednesday this way, by pronouncing it “wed” “nes” “day”). Schwa word examples: about = /ā bout/, mother = /mŏth er/ etc.

* Vowels are often schwa sounds in unaccented syllables. Often a derivative of a word with a different syllable accented will have the vowel pronounced correctly and help with spelling. For example the a in “human” can be heard in “humanity.”

When spelling multiple syllable words:
Spell syllable by syllable. First count the syllables and draw that many lines. Then say each syllable by itself and spell it.

Syllable Sorts


Syllable Sort Icon Syllable Sorts

See syllable sort directions and headings and a strategy page in Teacher Resources below.

For practice breaking up big words, use any of the multiple syllable word lists or syllable sorts, including:
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC CV VCE Syllable Sort
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC CV VCE VV Syllable Sort

Small Books

Small Books icon Small Books

Small Book assembly directions, 4 Pager folding directions, OR use horizontal format for reading on screen in distance learning.


Multiple Syllable Books

Play detective!   While reading keep a lookout for schwa words.  How many can you find?

Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple syllable 4 page A Muffin Problem foldable format
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple syllable 4 page A Muffin Problem horizontal format
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple syllable 4 page Crazy Comics on TV foldable format
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC multiple syllable 4 page Crazy Comics on TV horizontal format
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC CV multiple syllable 4 page The Concert foldable format
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC CV multiple syllable 4 page The Concert horizontal format

Full Page Stories with Lists

Full Page Stories with Lists

Highlighting Word Lists directions

Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Schwa list and story Young Puppy
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2CVC and Schwa multiple syllable list and story The Strict Top Ninja
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-2Compound words full page story and list What If

Learners are now ready to move on to Step 7 without being able to read any of the challenge words below.

CHALLENGE: Multiple Syllable Words With Schwa Endings (These are also found in Step 10)

-tion, -xion, -cion, -sion, -xion, -cial, -tious, -cious, -xious, -cient, -ture, -age


Schwa endings Bundles

Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa -al Endings Bundle -al multiple syllable words
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa -tion Endings Bundle -tion multiple syllable words
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa -sion Endings Bundle -sion multiple syllable words
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa -ture Endings Bundle -ture multiple syllable words
Green Star, Pink Plus: Grades 1,2 and/or intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings Bundle -age May I Help With Your Baggage?

Schwa endings sheets

Pink Plus: intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings –tion wordlist
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings -ture wordlist
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings -cial wordlist
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings -age words and phrases: Some Words Don’t Act Their Age
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings Common words with endings -tion, -cial, -sion, -cient, -ture
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeChallenge Schwa Endings Lists by ending and syllable type -sion, -tion, -tious, -cious, cial, -xious, -tient, -cient, -cion, -xion

Teacher Resources


Teacher icon Teacher Resources

Visuals

Teaching Story and Directions

PowerPoints

Directions

More on the Directions Page

Map Sounds to Letters

First map the sounds in the word to the letter(s) representing the sounds, even if it is not a letter combination that has been taught yet. Only an unusual sound/letter combination needs to be remembered “by heart.” Mapping the sounds to the letters is how we remember what words look like. See example below:

Map sounds to the letters that spell those sounds.  Teach spelling

Be sure to reinforce what you know and are learning about words:
Schwa Sound: Any vowel might say /u/. Point out this happens in many common words like: the, of, was, some, from…

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