When a child is learning to read, the child is learning to spell as well. Since most one-syllable, short vowel words (CVC) have three letters, all of which are pronounced, these words are usually easy for the child to spell. If you use letter tiles or cards with individual letters written on them, reinforce spelling as you and the child move the tiles around to form new words. At this stage, merging reading and spelling is easy.
Another set of words are almost as easy to learn to spell. These are words which end with the double consonants of l, s, and f and z. If you take the time to point out to the child the double final consonants in these words, the child will learn to spell them easily. Be sure to tell the child that these double consonants are pronounced as a single sound. What are some common CVC word families with double ending consonants?
- –ell: bell, dell, fell, hell, sell, smell, spell, tell, well, yell
- –ill: bill, dill, fill, hill, kill, mill, pill, sill, still, till, will
- –oll: doll
- –ull: dull, gull, hull, mull, skull
- –ass: ass, bass, class, glass, grass, pass
- –ess: bless, dress, less, mess
- –iss: bliss, criss, hiss, kiss, miss
- –oss: boss, cross, floss, loss, moss, toss
- –uss: fuss, muss
- –aff: staff
- –eff: Jeff
- –iff: cliff, miff, sniff, stiff, tiff,
- –off: off, scoff
- –uff: bluff, buff, cuff, fluff, gruff, huff, muff, puff, scruff, scuff, snuff, stuff
- –azz: jazz, razz
- –iz: fizz, frizz
- –uz: buzz, fuzz
It is important to point out to the child that even though most of the time l, s, f and z are doubled at the end of short words, sometimes these letters are not doubled. So as not to confuse the child, list just a few exceptions to this doubling rule (pal, gas, bus, yes, us, and plus), using words that the child is likely to encounter.
Also point out that a few common words that don’t end in l, s, f and z double the final consonant even though most other words do not. Add, odd, egg, inn, and mitt are some examples that the child might read and use. When the child understands the concept of syllables, you can explain that this rule of doubling the l, s, f and z usually applies to one syllable words only. Many times children try to write “until” as “untill” (proving they have internalized the rule), so it is worth pointing out the correct spelling when the child is ready to learn two-syllable, short vowel words. –Mrs. K