Ten Consistent Spelling Rules to Boost Your Students’ Spelling
I-TESOL Conference ● Weber State University ● Ogden, UT
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Presented by Heidi Hyte ● email@example.com
#1: SPELLING WITH C AND K
When the sound /k/ is followed by the vowels a, o, or u, it is spelled with a c.
When the sound /k/ is followed by the vowels i or e, it is spelled with a k.
C – a, o, u K – i, e
c a t k i n
c o t K e n
c u t
#2: DOUBLE S, F, AND Z
In single-syllable, short-vowel words that end in the letters s, f, or z, the ending consonant is usually doubled.
k i s s s t a f f m e s s f l u f f j a z z
NOTE: There are approximately 21 exceptions to this rule. Many of these words are sight words.
S: is, as, his, has, was, gas, bus, yes, us, plus, pus, this, goes, does, says
F: if, of, clef, chef
Z: whiz, quiz
#3: SPELLING WITH –CH AT THE END OF A WORD
When a short vowel sound is heard right before the /ch/ sound in a one-syllable word, the ch will usually be spelled –tch. The t is silent and is used in the spelling of all but five words. Those five exceptions are: rich, much, such, which, and touch.
#4 SPELLING WORDS THAT END IN THE SOUND /J/
English words never end in the letter j. When the sound /j/ is heard at the end of a word, it will always be spelled ge.
a g e h u g e s t r a n g e
Most one-syllable, short vowel words ending in –ge are preceded by a silent d.
f u d g e b r i d g e w e d g e
#5 SPELLING WORDS THAT END IN THE SOUND /V/
The consonant v will never stand alone at the end of an English word. The letter e always follows v at the end of the word unless the word is an abbreviation, an acronym, or a name.
g a v e s t o v e h a v e
#6 SPELLING WORDS WITH SUFFIXES
1) In a short vowel word ending in a single consonant, that same consonant must be doubled before adding the suffixes -ing, -ed, -er, or -est.
run runner hop hopping
2) If a short vowel word already has two consonants at the end of the word, simply add the suffix.
jump jumping hunt hunted
3) To add suffixes to words that end in a vowel, just add the suffix.
go going be being
4) When adding the suffixes –ing, –ed, –er, or –est to silent e words, drop the silent e, and add the suffix.
smile smiling pile piled
5) When adding the suffixes –ing, –ed, –er, or –est to adjacent vowel words, simply add the suffix.
boat boating mail mailing
#7 SPECIAL VOWEL SOUNDS
Special Vowel Sounds have their own sounds, and they are not adjacent vowels. Use the bottom spelling at the end of a word or syllable.
h a u l o u c h o i l
s a w h o w b o y
s h o w
#8 WORDS ENDING IN THE SOUND /K/
Long-vowel silent e words end in –ke.
b a k e h i k e s p o k e
If the vowel is short and no other sound is heard before the /k/ sound in a single-syllable word, the spelling will be –ck.
b a c k s o c k t r i c k
Words end in just a k if they are preceded by Murmur Diphthongs (ar, or, er, ir, ur), an adjacent vowel, a Special Vowel Sound, or after an l or an n.
p a r k s e e k h a w k h u n k m i l k
When the sound /k/ is heard in the middle of a word, the letter used for the sound is a c.
d e d u c t l o c a t e s u b t r a c t i o n c o r r e c t
The word will end in the consonant c only if it is a multi-syllabic word (exception: attack).
p a n i c t r a f f i c p i c n i c
When adding –ing to words ending in just c, it is necessary to first change the ending to –ck.
#9 “CRAZY W”
The letter w affects the vowel a when it directly precedes it. Subsequently, w affects the Murmur Diphthongs ar and or.
w before a = /o/ w a n t w a s p
w before ar = /or/ w a r t w a r d
w before or = /er/ w o r d w o r m
The preceding sound of w in qu even causes the sound of a to change to the sound of o, such as in the words squat, quad, and quarter.
To form a plural, add s to the ends of words ending in a consonant, and add –es to words ending in ss, zz, x, sh, or ch. You may choose to underline the ending to draw attention to it as you teach the correct pronunciation of plural endings.
k i t s j o b s c l a s s e s b u z z e s
b o x e s w i s h e s p e a c h e s
b o x e s w i s h e s p e a c h e s
NOTE: The pronunciation of s is determined by whether it follows a voiced or voiceless consonant. If the ending consonant is voiceless, the sound of the plural s is /s/ (e.g., hats). If the ending consonant is voiced, the sound of the plural s is /z/ (e.g., pens).