Recently a teacher I follow posted a Teachers Pay Teachers Product focusing on the “Common Exception Words”. I stopped scrolling. I saw words on the lists that I knew didn’t belong on there because there are spelling rules to support the spelling of those words. Spelling is a thing for me. It always has been (except during high school). But when I learned and found a more comprehensive list of the spelling rules, I began teaching them right away.
How Many Spelling Rules?
Who knows? But the 29 that I know, covers most spelling words for kindergarten to grade seven students. Want to know one of them? Keep reading! This is the first spelling rule that I teach in grade one.
Spelling Rule #1: English Words don’t end with an “i”
I love this rule! We have so many wonderful conversations around it. Parents regularly tell me that their child is pointing out words and saying, “that is not an English word!” The key word in that rule is English. The English language has incorporated words that are not English, which I’ll share in a bit.
Have you already started thinking about words that end with an “i”? There are exceptions to this rule: names and places! As a teacher we have seen student names spelled every which way, but my students still like to point them out. I tell them that the teacher who taught me this rule, wait for it, her name is Patti.
So if English words don’t end with an “i”, what about the words:
- ski – it’s French
- spaghetti, macaroni, linguini and all the lovely pastas – they are Italian
There are some words that end with i in the upper grades but you will find that many of them are Latin or Greek words. I keep meaning to create an anchor on non-English words for this rule. Maybe when the students are back in class.
So Why is This Rule Important?
This rule helps with children’s writing and communication. If English words do not end with an “i” then what do children do when they hear |I| at the end of the word? Glad you asked! The letter y is the substitution letter for i. When they hear the word m-i, it’s my.
The Role of Y in Spelling
The letter y is a unique letter because it is both a consonant and vowel. It is a vowel when it replaces the “i” at the end of the word and when it follows a c or g (that’s another rule). I teach that y has 4 sounds: y as in yo-yo, i as in gym, I as in my, fly, by, and e as in happy, rainy, sunny, friendly, etc. Before I teach spelling rules, I teach single letter phonogram sounds. If you want to read more about this, check out this post. Most students are familiar with one sound of a letter but when we get to the letter y – they look at me like I’m crazy!
But after a while they get it, because they start seeing the connections. Language is about relationships and many of the letters have special relationships with other letters (ie, q and u). This is why we need to teach spelling rules, to help students see the relationships of letters, sounds and words. It gets me excited to see when students see it too!
If you would like to see more spelling rules, let me know below in the comments. Hope you are having a great week at school!