Step 1: Short Vowels / Closed Syllable (CVC)
This section includes: isolated short vowel sounds and short vowel sounds in beginning words like: mat, big, pen, top, and fun.
- Vowels are a, e, i, o and u. They make both a long sound (it’s own name) and a short sound. The short vowel sounds are the sounds they make in the words: mat, pet, sit, top, mug.
- Short vowel sounds are indicated by: /ă/ /ĕ/ /ĭ/ /ŏ/ /ŭ/.
- Long vowel sounds are indicated by: /ā/ /ē/ /ī/ /ō/ /ū/.
- Y sometimes behaves like a vowel.
- Consonants are b,c,d,f,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,p,q,r,s,t,v,w,x,y,z.
- A Closed Syllable (CVC) has one vowel and ends in a consonant. The vowel says its short sound like in the words hat, pet, it, on, and luck. The Closed syllable is the most common syllable, and the only syllable where the vowel says its short sound.
- 4h Brothers are the h digraphs: th, sh, wh, and ch.
- Blends are 2 consonants read quickly together. Some examples are: pl, gr, sn, and ending blends -mp, -nd, and -nt.
- Unusual Blends and Digraphs include: -ng, -nk, -tch, -dge, kn, gn, ph, wr, -mb, and -mn.
- An Open Syllable (CV) has one vowel and the vowel is at the end of the syllable. The vowel says its name (its long sound) as in the Open Syllable words: hi, me, and go.
- Open Syllables are most often part of longer words as in the first syllable in the words: bonus, table and meter.
Step 4: Magic e Syllable (VCE) & Contractions Detour
- A Magic e Syllable has a vowel, a consonant, and then an e at the end of the syllable. The e at the end of a Magic e Syllable is silent, and makes the vowel in that syllable say it’s name as in the words: bike, pale, snake, note, and tune.
- Contractions are two words put together with an apostrophe, as in the words: didn’t, could’ve, and can’t.
- The Regular Vowel Team Syllable has two vowels next to each other. The first vowel says its name and the second vowel is silent. These vowel teams are: ie, ai, ay, oa, ow, oe, ea, ee, ey. (The letter w acts as a vowel in ow.)
- Long Vowel Chunks are groups of letters where the vowel almost always says its name for no clear reason like the chunks: -igh, ang, old, and ank.
- Bossy r Syllable is also called an R-Controlled Syllable because the r controls (or bosses) the vowel. The basic Bossy r combinations are: ar (car), er (her), ir (bird), ur (fur), and or (for).
- Adding Endings to words. Endings include: -ed -ing -er -est and -ly.
- The Schwa is pronounced /ŭ/ (the short u sound), and often can hardly be heard at all. It is represented with (ə) over the vowel. There are various reasons for the schwa sound, but basically any vowel or vowel combination might have a schwa sound.
This section also includes Challenge Schwa endings which are also included in Step 10: Huge Words. These do not need to be mastered at this time. These are: -tion, -sion, -cial, -tious -cient, -tient, -ture, -cious, -xious, -cion, -xion, and -age.
Step 8: -cle Syllable (cle)
- The -cle Syllable is pronounced the “Consonant L E Syllable.” This syllable is always at the end of the base word, always has three letters and always has a consonant and then the letters L and E. The syllable is pronounced as if there was a schwa between the two consonants, and the e is silent. These are words like people, bubble, sniffle, and turtle.
- -cle words can have endings attached to them like sniffling and snuggled.
Irregular Vowel Team Syllable The vowel combinations in this syllable are also called diphthongs and digraphs. Vowels are next to each other like the Regular Vowel Teams, but unlike Regular Vowel Teams, these vowel teams are pronounced with new sounds. These groups of letters include: oo, oi, oy, au, aw, augh, ui, ue, ew, ou, and ow. (The letter w acts as a vowel in ew and ow.)
Step 10: Huge Words!
Huge Words include multiple syllable words and challenge endings including -tion, -sion, -cial, -tious -cient, -tient, -ture, -cious, -xious, -cion, -xion, -age.