As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, it’s easy to allow our minds to wander to lazy summer days eating sweet treats to the tune of carnival rides and laughter. I’d like to keep this sentiment alive with our next rule: Taffy Apple.
Photo by John Jackson on Unsplash
When it comes to sweets, it’s really difficult to have just one, so let’s have TWO. After all, this is a doubling rule!
Before we dig into this sweet, sticky rule, let’s go over some prerequisite skills your student should have before they begin to double letters in the middle of words.
Before You Begin
What I find challenging about doubling rules is that, although there may be two letters in a row, we can only hear one sound. One letter is voiced, while the other is silent. Therefore, it’s easy to miss a doubling rule.
Start by getting your student acclimated to doubled letters, syllable division, and syllable types. You can do this by giving your student the following list on a piece of paper with the attached guided practice instructions. I have another version of this list in my FREE reproducibles download at the end of this post with an answer key.
"Biting into Doubling
Now that you’ve primed your student for this rule, pull just those words from the list that have doubled letters.
Notice that we already know why two of these words have doubled letters. “Fluff” and “Thrill” both follow an old familiar rule, Sam Loves Fried Zucchini. Of course, Sam Loves Fried Zucchini is only for 1 syllable words. The other words will follow our new doubling rule because our new doubling rule is for the middle of multi-syllable words. As your student taps out the remaining words, make note that there are short vowel sounds at the end of the first syllable in each word, so what you’ll hear is this:
What’s important to connect is that short vowels must be closed by a consonant, so spelling these words as I have them above is a bit of conundrum. Let’s look at the word “Tafy” for example. The ă as it’s written here would be read long (ā) because it’s not closed. Do not fear! We are not without hope for closing these short vowels. All we need to do is double the next sound after the short vowel.
As you might have noticed, this is a tricky rule to explain without first taking your student on the same journey that we just took together. And where are we now? Well, we’re at the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the moment we sink our teeth into our new spelling rule. When I think of the name of this rule, I can imagine the sweet, delicious crunch of a taffy apple, and I hope you can too!
Now, it’s easy to forget that this spelling rule is really just that: a spelling rule, rather than a reading rule. Therefore, it’s important to eventually practice this rule without visual assistance, relying on syllable division and vowel sounds. I might give my student an auditory drill with a mix of examples and nonexamples. It might go something like this:
“I say ‘Taffy.’ Now, you say ‘Taffy.”
“Tap out ‘Taffy’ into its syllables.”
“Will this word need the doubling rule?”
“Yes, because there is a short ‘a’ at the end of the syllable.”
“Great! Now, try writing it down to double check.”
Important Tips to Consider
Time for Dessert!
Just like our beloved sweet treats, we saved the best for last! I have some FREE reproducibles that I’d like to share as you navigate this new spelling rule. Unlike those impossible carnival games, you don’t have to do anything to win this prize. Simply click and print!
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 our other spelling topics HERE, and don’t forget to check out our complete guide to spelling at www.Silvermoonspellingrules.com . If you need help understanding syllable division rules see our video section (vlogs) HERE.
Kate Wagner, BSE
Reading Interventionist, Remote Learning Coach