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Phonics Cheat Sheet

vc Rule
A vowel followed by a consonant is short; code it with a breve.
A breve looks like a smile placed over the short vowel.
Examples of words following this rule:
log cat sit tug wet

v Rule
An open, accented vowel is long; code it with a macron.
A macron is a line -- placed over the long vowel.
Examples of words following this rule:
no me so we go hi

Twin Consonants
Twin consonants are two identical letters side by side in a word with only
the first letter making the sound.
To code a word with twin consonants cross out the second letter of the
pair.
Examples of words following this rule:
ball class stuff

Consonant Digraphs
A digraph is two letters that come together and make one sound.
This is different from a blend. In a blend the two sounds can be
distinguished.
Digraphs studied so far:
ck- code this by underlining and crossing out the c
ng - code this by underlining the digraph
th
The digraph th has a voiced and unvoiced sound. To determine if th is
unvoiced or voiced, place three fingers over your throat and say the word.
If you feel vibrations when pronouncing the th, then the th is voiced. To
code this digraph underline th and then draw a voice line through th. A
voice line is simply a line drawn across the middle of the digraph.
sh
ch
Vowel Digraphs
A vowel digraph is two letters with the first letter making a long sound
and the second letter is silent. We call this: "first one does the talking,
the second keeps on walking."
Vowel digraphs studied so far:
ee - code this by underlining and crossing out the second e.
ee
ay
ai
oo
The digraph oo has two sounds. One is the sound heard in hook. Code the
digraph for this sound with a breve over it. The other sound is the sound
heard in tooth. Code the digraph for this sound with a macron over it.
ue
au
aw

vccv Rule
When a word contains more than one vowel, it could follow the vccv or
vowel-consonant-consonant-vowel pattern. The first step is to mark the
vowels by writing a v under each vowel. Then mark the consonants by
writing a c under them. Next divide the word into syllables by drawing a
line between the two consonants. Code the vowels and decided which
syllable receives the accent (').
Examples of words following this rule:
napkin picnic rabbit

K and C Rules
There are two ways to spell the /k/ sound.
Spell the /k/ sound with k if the sound comes before e, i, or y.
Examples of this rule:
keg kid milky skip silky
Spell the /k/ sound with c if the sound comes before a, o, u, or any
consonant.
Examples of this rule:
cat clip crop cost cup
Final /k/ Rules
Spell the final /k/ sound with digraph ck after a short vowel.
Examples of this rule:
black lock neck sick duck
Spell the final /k/ sound with the letter k after a consonant or a vowel
digraph.
Examples of this rule:
milk week bank book

v-e Rule
A vowel followed by a consonant and "sneaky e" is long; code the vowel
with a macron and cross out the "sneaky e."
Examples of this rule:
name hope these like rule

Combinations
A combination is two letters coming together to make an unexpected
sound. These are different from a digraph because you cannot hear any of
the letters' normal sounds.
Combinations with the "bossy r":
ar
er
ir
ur
or
Other combinations:
qu

Final /s/ Rules


After a short vowel, use ss. Examples are:
boss miss grass dress
After a long vowel, use ce. Examples are:
ice space
After a consonant or a vowel digraph, use se. Examples are:
false rinse pulse loose horse
Dropping Rule
When a word ends with a "silent e" or "sneaky e", drop the e before adding
a vowel suffix.
Ex: make + ing = making
rule + er = ruler

Dipthongs
A dipthong is two vowel sounds that come together so quickly that they
are considered to be only one syllable.
Dipthongs that have been introduced:
oi and oy
ou and ow
Dipthong oi and ou come in the initial or medial position of a word.
Dipthong oy and ow come in the final position of a word.
Ex: join
boy
mouse
cow

Wild Colt Words


Wild Colt words contain either the vowels o or i followed by two
consonants. The vowel is long when followed by two consonants.
Ex: wild
colt
kind
find
both

Ghost Letter Digraphs


We call the "g," "k," and "w" in the digraphs gn, kn, and wr ghost letters to
help us remember they used to make a sound but now are silent.
Ex: knife
gnaw
wrist
Doubling Rule
When a vowel suffix is added to a root word that ends with one vowel and
one consonant, the final consonant is doubled before adding the suffix.
Vowel suffixes are ed, ing and y.
Ex: sit + ing = sitting
Sit ends with a vowel followed by one consonant.
Suffix ing is a vowel suffix.
The ending consonant, "t" is doubled before adding the suffix.

Another way to look at it: ask:

Does the word have one syllable?


Does the word have one vowel?
Does the word end with one consonant?

If yes, then you probably double the last consonant.

Open Syllables
Open syllables typically end with a long vowel sound.

paper, season, hoping

Closed Syllables
Closed syllables typically have a short vowel sound and are usually followed
by another consonant.

enter, butter, hopping

Schwa
It is the third sound that most of the single vowel spellings can represent. It is the
indistinct sound of many a vowel in an unstressed syllable, and is represented by the
linguistic symbol / /; it is the sound of the o in lesson, of the a in sofa.

It is the most common vowel sound in spoken English.

Homographs and Parts of Speech


When the stress is on the first syllable, the word is a noun. When the stress is on the second
syllable the word is a verb.

What part of a word is stressed?


Here are some more, rather complicated, rules that can help you understand where to put the
stress. But do not rely on them too much, because there are many exceptions. It is better to try to
"feel" the music of the language and to add the stress naturally.

1 Stress on first syllable

rule example

Most 2-syllable nouns PRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble

Most 2-syllable adjectives PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPpy

2 Stress on last syllable

rule example

Most 2-syllable verbs