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A Follow-up to The Gentle Giraffe | The Huge Hedgehog

The Huge Hedgehog

silver moon spelling rules

This rule is a follow-up to the Gentle Giraffe rule.  It involves this spunky, slightly huge, hedgehog! Because words in English cannot end with the letter J, it’s important to let your student know that when they hear  /j/ at the end, they must choose a different spelling. To introduce this spelling rule, it’s helpful to spend some time reviewing short versus long vowel sounds. This concept is the building block to the huge hedgehog rule. This rule works similarly to spelling words that end with /ch/ using the spellings CH and TCH. To learn more about this rule, visit our blog called Munch a Batch of Cookies

As we revisit our furry friend, we can use the name of his rule to help us to understand  what’s going on with this rule:  

Hūge Hĕdgehog 

Notice that /j/ is spelled with GE when it follows a long vowel, while /j/ is spelled with  DGE when it follows a short vowel. It’s that simple! Let’s look at that complete rule: 

silver moon spelling rules

Important Tips to Consider

  • Practice reading the DGE trigraph (works just like a digraph) as one sound,  /j/. 

Students often accidentally pronounce DGE as /d-j/, so I like to practice reading both GE and DGE by writing them on index cards. Then, I alternate pointing to them as my student reads each sound. 

  • Provide your student with a resource that already has the rule written down.

This allows you to focus on what matters most: learning and applying the rule. I  highly suggest the Silver Moon Spelling Rules cards complete with illustrations for this rule. Both student and instructor sets of cards can be found here

  • Practice using both real words and nonsense words. 

You may find that students have learned to memorize a lot of words. This is especially common when working with older students. Therefore, it’s difficult to know for sure if your student has really learned the spelling rule to the point of generalization (note that this is the ‘good kind’ of generalization). Using a mix of real words and nonsense words helps you better understand what your student knows and eliminates the memorization variable. 

  • Once teaching and initial practice is underway, recite this rule out loud with your student, gradually fading any prompting until your student can verbalize the rule independently. 

Creating sentence frames are another good way to fade supports while practicing a spelling rule. You can find sentence frames for each rule in our FREE  resources below.  

One More Giant Surprise

Now that I’ve introduced you to both rules, perhaps you’ll feel more confident in unraveling the mysteries of G with your students. Of course, it helps to have two adorable characters to reference in the process. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, ‘how can this get any better??’ Well, it gets better. To help you and your students practice these two new rules, I’ve created a set of FREE activities that you can simply click,  print, and teach! Enjoy them at the link below:

Huge Hedgehog Reproducibles Here

As always, if you found this blog helpful, please share it with your fellow teachers,  parents, and interventionists. Interested in learning more? You can find more spelling topics HERE, and don’t forget to check out our complete set of teaching resources at

Happy Teaching!  

Written by: 

Kate Wagner, BSE 

Reading Interventionist, Remote Learning Coach

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