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Silent E Activities for Elementary School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Learning the rules of the English spelling system is a major part of learning to read and write, and it is certainly not easy. This lesson focuses on silent E, offering activities that make silent E accessible and fun for students.

The Silent E Problem

Are you focusing on teaching your students how to read, write, and spell in English? If so, you probably know how frustrating many of the rules of the English language can be. One phenomenon that many students often struggle with is the Silent E. Silent E is what we usually call the letter e at the end of a word when it is not pronounced, but it impacts the pronunciation of a different vowel within the word. Once students get the hang of Silent E, reading words affected by it will feel automatic, but it can certainly take some practice. The activities in this lesson are designed to make it fun and engaging for students to practice working with Silent E.

Silent E and Reading

This section offers activities that help students figure out what it means to read words that have the Silent E in them, both in isolation and in the context of other reading.

Which Word Matches

This activity is fun because it helps students read words next to pictures. You can create a worksheet or poster for students to use, or you can have more advanced students create the work for their classmates. Make a poster or worksheet that has a series of pictures of objects whose names contain Silent E. For instance, you can include a cake, a cane, tape, or a bone. Then, add pictures of objects whose names have short vowel sounds, such as a pan, the number ten, or a rock. Write the word names of each object along the bottom of the poster. Then, have students work together to read the words and find the picture that they match with. Use their matching to lead into a discussion of the Silent E and what it does.

Find the Silent E

The beauty of this activity is that it is totally organic, and students can work on it while they do their independent reading. They will automatically be working at a level appropriate for them. As students read, ask them to find any words that contain the Silent E. Every time they find such a word, they should write it down in their reading notebook. They should practice reading it out loud. At the end of the reading period, bring students together to share some of the words they have found. Write their words for the whole class to see and talk about.

Silent E and Writing

The activities in this section help your students work with Silent E in their own spelling and independent writing.

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