Let’s start with a scenario. I am working with a student on the basic letter sound correspondences, and I get to the letter G. I don’t know about you, but this is one letter sound correspondence that makes me hold my breath. Why? Let’s reenact a conversation that I’ve had many times while showing students the letter G:
“What is the most common sound for this letter?”
“Hmm…that’s one sound it can make, but that’s not the most common sound.”
“Really? But what about the in words, ‘giraffe,’ or ‘gem’? I hear G make that sound all the time!”
Now, I’m sure we all recognize that this student isn’t entirely wrong. In fact, they have some good foundational skills for the rule that I’m about to show you. However, with this student, I’ll hold back on teaching the less common sound for G. You see, students working on the most common phoneme-letter correspondences aren’t quite ready for alternative letter sounds, and of course, the alternative letter sound for G is /j/, while the most common sound for G remains the /g/ sound as in the word “goat.”
It may sound like I’m backtracking on our primary focus for today, but if we look at the big picture, it’s important to recognize that reading and spelling concepts should get introduced at just the right time in a student’s learning. When introduced too early (or too late), it can lead to confusion and slow student progress.
Prior to studying systematic spelling and reading strategies, the scope and sequence of teaching these concepts (the order in which we teach them) was a bit lost on me. Thankfully, we’ve made it easy to see where you were and where you’re headed as a teacher with our easy-to-follow Silver Moon teaching guides. You can find all three sets on our website here. To extend my little soapbox on scope and sequence, I have a quick checklist for you to consider prior to teaching the spelling and reading rules about G’s alternate sound.
Before You Begin
Make sure your student can...
The Gentle Giraffe Loves Gym
Now, on to the rules you’ve been waiting for! Meet our first friend, the gentle giraffe. As you can see, the gentle giraffe is all about getting in his daily workout at the gym! While he finishes his workout, let’s explore what his rule is about. This reading rule reminds us that G can make a secondary sound when it is directly followed by an e, i, or y. G’s secondary sound is called it's soft sound, and it sounds just like the letter J. It says /j/. Notice that the name of this rule helps us to see an example of each ssseaky vowel changing the sound of the letter G. Check it out!
Gentle Giraffe Loves Gym
Here’s the complete rule:
Check out the Gentle Giraffe reproducible 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 www.Silvermoonspellingrules.com.
Kate Wagner, BSE
Reading Interventionist, Remote Learning Coach
Have you observed your student struggling to spell the /k/ sound? If so, this might look familiar:
Of course, we want our students to use efficient and logical strategies while spelling, so we teach them spelling rules. I’m about to show you two handy rules that will clear up the /k/-Conundrum once and for all!
Before You Begin Teaching...
To begin, make sure your student has already mastered the following skills:
Once you’re sure that the prerequisite skills are met, you can begin to teach the spelling rule.
Spelling /K/ Explained with Two Simple Rules...
Begin by explaining that what you’re about to teach works when spelling /K/ at the beginning of a word. Spelling /K/ at the end is a bit different. I like to introduce this rule by first reminding my students to think about spelling in these simple terms:
“Say the sound you want to spell. Then, think about all of the ways you can spell that
Yes, it’s that easy!
Next, explain the digraph “CK” cannot be used to begin a word. This is the point where most students breathe a sigh of relief. Now there are only two choices!
Okay, But What about the Rules?
Ahh..you’ve come here for the rules! That’s right. Because this concept relates to multiple scenarios we’ve split them into two categories named by the following two rules:
Cubs Can Drink Cola
The most common way to spell /K/ is with the letter “C,” so we should always consider spelling with the letter “C” first.
However, sometimes, the letter “C” can be tricky. When it comes right BEFORE a Sssssneaky Vowel, it will make the /S/ sound (like in the word “cent”). Sssssneaky vowels include e, i, and y.
“Spell /K/ with a C if there’s an a, o, u, or consonant after it.”
Kind Ken Was Stinky
And what to do if there is a Sssssneaky Vowel? Easy! Just choose the other option, “K.”
“Spell /K/ with a K if there’s an e, i, or y after it.”
How cute are Ken and those Cubs?! As much as I’d like to say they were created just to melt our hearts, they serve an important role in rule memorization. In fact, when students can connect a new concept to a story, visual, and mnemonic device, they are much more likely to apply and remember this new knowledge!
Important Tips To Consider...
Remember: We teach spelling rules to students so that they don’t have to use inefficient strategies like guessing. However, don’t become discouraged if your student still reverts to guessing strategies. This compensatory skill is most likely still a knee-jerk reaction to spelling unfamiliar words! When this happens, keep bringing your student back to the rules they’ve learned.
Practice these skills with our FREE resources.
Download to Print: Spelling _k_ Worksheets and Answer Keys Combined (1)
If you’ve found this article useful for solving your /K/-Conundrums, please share this post! Don’t forget to check back for more spelling and reading discussion, tips, and resources.
Check out the rest of our spelling rules at www.Silvermoonspellingrules.com
Kate Wagner, BSE
Reading Interventionist, Remote Learning Coach
Struggling with spelling can be embarrassing as a child and even more embarrassing as we grow older. Some people might think that because there is spell check on our phones and our computers and because we rarely physically write notes to employees, that spelling is not as necessary as it used to be. But have you ever wasted time guessing how to spell a word right and spell check keeps underlining it in red because it is incorrect, or your phone keeps auto correcting the wrong word? Word prediction software is not always reliable, and can cause embarrassing mistakes. Some people might struggle with this more than others and part of this struggle comes from not learning the basics when we learn spelling in grade school. To start to tackle spelling issues, you need to first acknowledge some common spelling mistakes.
2. One Word or Two Words: Combining two words to make one new word creates a compound word. This gets confusing for spellers because words like everyday versus every day are both acceptable spellings in the English language but are used differently. Other examples that can be confusing are seashell vs sea shell, hot dog vs hotdog, gameday vs game day, etc. Oftentimes only one form of the word is correct, and it can be hard to know which one to choose.
3. Problems with Homophones: Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings or uses. The most commonly misused homophone would be their, they’re, and there. Some other examples are witch and which or weather and whether. Homophones present a big stumbling block when it comes to spell check. These words are commonly misused because though they may be spelled correctly it doesn’t mean they are used correctly. One tip to help with usage is an app called, Grammarly. This is an amazingly helpful tool!
4. Irregular Words: Let’s face it, there are words in our language that just don’t seem to follow any sort of normal pattern or rule. When it comes to irregular words we need to rely on memorization as opposed to understanding and applying a spelling rule or deriving the logic of spelling from the origin of the word. You’ll have better luck remembering how to spell irregular words if you can attach some logic to the illogical spelling patterns and use simultaneously multisensory strategies
(visual/auditory/kinesthetic). Some examples of irregular words are: Tuesday, Wednesday, often, does, goes, and through. Using sensory sand is one example of a simultaneously multisensory technique. As a student traces the word in the sand they are able to see the letters in the sand while at the same time feeling the formation of the letters, and at the same time hearing the letters as they say them aloud while spelling.
These four areas commonly cause trouble, when spelling, for children and adults alike. Spelling mistakes are even more difficult to overcome especially if the speller has dyslexia or dysgraphia. Silver Moon Spelling Rules is an Orton-Gillingham based spelling program. Orton-Gillingham is a method that allows students to get the level of individualized, explicit, and structured learning they need to succeed. Our experts at READ Learning continue to grow the Silver Moon Spelling Rules product line to help students, teachers, and parents succeed together. Check out our full product line here.
Teachers and parents often struggle to find the right tools to help students with spelling and/or reading difficulties. Dyslexia and dysgraphia are the most common reasons a person will struggle to spell. To help students with either learning disability, Silver Moon uses an Orton-Gillingham approach, an explicit, structured, cumulative, and multisensory technique, that builds a deep understanding of reading and spelling for our students.
Here are five benefits of Silver Moon, an Orton-Gillingham influenced program:
Dyslexia and other underlying learning difficulties can be hard to teach and, for students, hard to overcome. Orton-Gillingham is a method that allows students to get the level of individualized, explicit, and structured learning they need to succeed. Our experts at READ Learning continue to grow the Silver Moon Spelling Rules product line to help students, teachers, and parents succeed together. Check out our full product line here.
Poor Spelling is often a Sign of Dyslexia or other Learning Disabilities
Unfortunately, some are not so lucky. Researchers believe that 15-20% of the population is affected by dyslexia, with the top 10% being severe enough to need some type of learning intervention and other supports and accommodations. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurobiological in origin and is considered a language acquisition disorder that primarily affects reading fluency, spelling, and reading words in isolation. There are many other symptoms of dyslexia and they persist despite having quality teachers, caring and involved parents and regular school attendance.
For more information, contact Kelly at KSteinke@Readlearningservices.com.