Have you looked at or read the Common Exceptions Word List? What about a Sight Words List? What are sight words? They are NOT words that students need to memorize. It is the opposite. They are words that students can decode if they are taught all the letter sounds. Yes, probably 95% of the lists can be taught if we teach the letter sounds. Therefore, sight words are words that children know by looking at them.
Let’s start with the first 5 words on the Common Exception list.
Letter Sounds in “the”
There is a story behind this word. First off, the digraph th has two sounds: “th” as in Thursday or thirst, but also “th” as in weather, mother. The second sound is similar to the “v” letter sound except that the tongue is behind the front teeth when you blow air. You need to teach children the differences.
The “e” in the originally was pronounced “ee”, like the word “Thee”, and it still is! Proper elocution of the word “the” says that you pronounced it was the (thu) when it is in front of a consonant (I see the (thu) book). However, you should pronounce it “thee” when it is in front of a vowel (I see the (thee) octopus).
Most of the consonants have 1 sound (B, D, F, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, T, V, W, Y (when it is a consonant), and Z). You might have noticed that I didn’t list all the consonants. Letters C, G, and S have 2 different sounds. The letters Q and X actually have 2 blended sounds (C-W for Q, K-S for X). Then there is R. This is 1 sound but it is the most mis-pronounced letter. Children often come into class pronouncing is as “ER”. This year’s class did the exact same thing. It’s not ER, it’s R as in rabbit or road or red. How I teach it is to have the children say “rabbit” then remove “abbit”.
A, E, I, O, U, and Y and either 2 or 3 sounds.
- A – /a/, /A/, /ah/ – sample words: at, able, all
- E – /e/, /E/ – sample words: egg, me
- I – /i/, /I/ – sample words: in, I
- O – /o/, /O/, /oo/ – sample words: top, go, to
- U – /u/, /U/, /ou/ – sample words: up, unicorn, put
- Y – /i/, /I/, /E/ – abyss, my, sunny
This video is a little dated but I created this for my class families to practice the letter sounds at home.
There will be more blog posts on this topic. In the meantime, click if you want to read about Common Exception Words.