Orton Gillingham for All

We Sailed and Jumped into a Twisted -ED (the suffix)

Hearing letter sounds is a major key to learning to write and understand English. It can be confusing because many letters or letter combinations have more than one sound. Today I will go over one of the combinations – the suffix –ed.

The suffix –ed is used to represent past tense; plenty of even smaller children may realize this. What a person may not have given attention to is that –ed makes three different sounds.

A sentence to represent this  (and practice) is: He rented a boat, jumped in and sailed off.

Hear it? Rented — /ed/  (said like the name, Ed)

Jumped — /t/ (sounds like the sound of a “t”)

Sailed — /d/  (Sounds like a “d”)

Below are examples of words that have the three different sounds. It is good to dictate the words to students, have them write what you are saying, and be sure to have student read back what has been written.

-ed = /ed/           This sound comes after a t or d

Examples: melted, twisted, planted, rented, mended, printed, rusted, acted, blasted, sanded, punted, salted.

-ed = /d/             

Examples: grilled, banged, smiled, saved, shelled, drilled, spilled, yelled, changed, filmed, ganged

-ed = /t/

Examples: masked, jumped, fished, skipped, asked, camped, blocked, checked, kicked, dumped, honked, limped

More Advanced words: rowed (d), slipped (t), scrapped (t), smelled (d), stepped (t), snowed (d), turned (d), filled (d)

In class, we had a “bank” of words at the top of a worksheet and a “grid” under the word bank.  At the top of the grid were the –ed sounds. We were asked to put the words under the correct –ed sound. After we completed the assignment, we went over each word and the sound they made in class, as a discussion. You may be surprised at how people hear sounds differently!

For Example (our worksheet had many more):

Melted                                 Grilled                   Jumped                                                punted                 limped                  filmed

-ed = /ed/ -ed = /d/ -ed = /t/
melted grilled jumped
punted filmed limped

They Come as a Team – Vowel Teams

So we’ve now gone through all of the syllable types except one in the REVLOC system of syllable division. We have covered C, E, O, R, and L. The final type of syllable is Vowel Teams – the V.  These vowel teams are vowel sounds (it’s the sound, not just the letters) formed by two or more letters (notice it is letters, not vowels) within the same syllable.

For example:







In dividing a word, a Vowel Team syllable will look like this:

Conceit                                      con (closed or C)  ceit (vowel team or V)

As a side note: is this a vowel team?  The word: Quit?  NO! It is not. It is a closed syllable. QU is considered a consonant and always appears together in English. Why is this important? For pronunciation. This makes the “i” in Quit stay short as it would in most closed syllables.


Below are the vowel teams, what sound they make and example words. So here goes:

ai says ā (long a) as in Train. It usually occurs at the beginning or middle of words.

Examples: ail, mail, main, hair, quail, chair, stair, frail, air, strain, Spain, faith, waif, snail, drain


ay says ā (long a) as in Tray. It comes at the end of words.

Examples: bay, say, spray, pay, stay, haystack, away, sway


oa says ō (long o) as in boat. It comes at the beginning and middle of words.

Examples: oat, coat, coach, throat, loan, goal, toast


oe says ō (long o) as in toe. There are very few words  and it is usually at the end of words.

Examples: toe, doe, foe, hoe, Joe, roe, woe, Moe


ee says ē (long e) as in bee.

Examples: deed, seem, speed, knee, fee, screech, fifteen, sleet, indeed, greed


oi says “oi” as in oil.

Examples: point, avoid, thyroid, devoid, rejoice, loiter, typhoid, poison, coil


oy says “oi” as in boy. It is usually at the end of a word, with a few exceptions.

Examples: joy, employ, soy, alloy destroy, deploy, viceroy.

Exceptions from the end of word sentence: The loyal, royal, oyster took a voyage. These “oy” words are in the middle of the words.


oo commonly says “oo” as in food.

Examples: too, zoo, moon, boost, shampoo, proof, zoom, hoop, tattoo


oo also says “oo” in a few words, as in foot.

Examples: book, brook, cook, hook, wood, shook, hood, good, nook, hook, wool, soot, stood, look, took, nook, crook


ow says “ou” as in cow.

Examples: flower, shower, dowel, clown, tower, chowder, sow, endowment, plow, drown, brown, gown


ow also says “ō” (long o) as in snow.

Examples: blow, flown, thrown, elbow, owner, willow, sloe, owe, flow, growth, rainbow


ie says “ē” (long e) as in thief. It is usually in the middle.

Examples: belief, priest, siege, brief, field, pier, yield, shriek, fierce, achieve


ie also says “ī” (long i) as in pie. Usually at the end of words and there are very few.

Examples: pie, die, lie, tie, fie, vie, belie, underlie


ou says “ou” as in house.

Examples: about, amount, loud, foul, voucher, shroud, stout, proud, tout, thou, count, noun, gout, our


ou also says “oo” as in soup. These are French words that have made it into the English language.

Examples: croup, group, route, wound, you, youth, youthful, coupon, cougar, lou, Louis


ou also says “ŭ” (short u) as in double. This is rare.

Examples: trouble, couple, country, touch, young


au says “ô” as in auto. It comes at the beginning or the middle of words.

Examples: fault, launch, vault, gaudy, fraud, Paul, saunter, taut, sausage, daunt, saucer, laundry, jaunt


aw also says “ô” as in saw. It usually comes at the end of words.

Examples: claw, saw, draw, straw, flow, thaw, jaw, squaw, law, paw, raw, slaw

RULE: if a L, N, or K follow the “o” sound, use AW at the end. Examples: hawk, lawn, dawn, yawn, and scrawl.   In other words, if you hear this sound “ô,” and it’s at the end, always use the AW, not AU, as AU will not appear at the end of a word, only beginning and middle.


ea says “ē” (long e) as in eagle.

Examples: beach, bead, leave, treat, speak, tea, wheat, teacher, squeak, teach, steal, real, leap, heat, ease


ea also says “ĕ” (short e) as in Bread.

Examples: dread, sweat, instead, heavy, jealous, thread, lead (the medal), threat, heaven, pleasant, already, wealth, death, deaf, heading


ea also says “ā” (long a) as in steak. This is rare.

Examples: steak, break

NOTE: A sentence to help remember the sounds of EA is The eagle ate bread and steak.


ey says “ē” (long e) as in monkey. It is at the end of words.

Examples: barley, jockey, valley, money, dickey, New Jersey, chimney, key, volley, journey, pulley, turkey


ey also says “ā” (long a). It is rare.

Examples: they, convey, disobey, obey, hey, prey, survey, whey


igh says “ī” (long i) as in light. In the base word (if in a compound word), it is either at the end or followed by the letter t.

Examples: blight, high, sight, frighten, flashlight, lighthouse, highway, highness, moonlight, sigh, fright, insight


eigh says “ā” (long a) as in eight. In the base word (if in a compound word) it is either at the end or followed by the letter t.

Examples: weight, sleigh, neighbor, neigh, eight, eighty, weigh, freight, eighteen, neighborhood, eighty-eight.


ue makes the two long sounds of u: “oo” and “yoo.” As in, A true rescue. UE will come at the end of the word.

ue says “oo” as in true.

Examples: due, rue, avenue, sue, subdue, blue, glue, misconstrue, pursue


ue also says “yoo” as in rescue.

Examples: hue, statue, cue, argue, virtue, tissue, issue, continue


ew says both “oo” and “yoo”. As in, He grew a few inches. EW will come at the end of words.

ew says “oo” as in grew.

Examples: blew, chew, pew, mildew, jewel, new, grew, threw


ew says “yoo” as in few.

Examples: pew, few, pewter, nephew


ui says “oo” as in fruit. There are very few common words with this vowel team.

Examples: suitor, juice, nuisance, bruise, pursuit, cruise, recruit, suit, sluice


eu says both “oo” and “yoo” as in eucalyptus and Zeus. These are Greek in origin and not common.

eu says “oo” as in Zeus.

Examples: neuter, neutral, neuron, neural, neuritis, sleuth, deuce


eu also says “yoo” as in feud

Examples: feudal, Europe, eucalyptus, euphemism, Eugene, euphoria


ei says “ē” (long e) and comes after the letter c.

Examples: ceiling, conceive, conceit, deceive, receive, deceit, receipt, perceive


ei also says “ā” (long a) as in veil.

Examples: vein, rein, skein reindeer, heir, surveillance


Say, “Wuh”? Pronouncing Sounds

There are times when pronouncing a consonant letter, people will say it like this:

For “m” someone might say, “muh” or “d,” “duh.” Actually, m says, “mmmm” and d says “d” (clipped, no uh on it).

The sounds of letters are the smallest unit of sound in the English language. They are called phonemes (pronounced: phō-nēms).

This is a good place to start with a child in OG. In class we made a deck to use. I use the deck by showing each card with a different consonant on it. I usually have this conversation, “Tell me what the letter says.”

I hold up “m” and they say, “That is an m.”

I say, “That is an m, what does the m say?”

“Oh!” They say, “M says, muh.”

“Sort of, but when we say muh it can get confusing when you listen to someone talking and they say something like, milk. Since people don’t say muh-ilk.”

“Ok! M says, “mmmm.”

“Great! What does this letter say, (s)?”…

I always start by asking a student the letter sounds, no matter the age. It’s a good indicator of where to start. If they know the letter sounds, we can move on quickly from there. If they stumble, then more review can be done.

Many letters make more than one sound, like c says “k” and “s.” There is also more than one sound for many letters and letter combinations. For example, there are six ways to make the sound “k” – c (cat), k (kite), ck (sack), ch (Christmas), -que (Antique), and lk (walk).  A vowel team combination example is: ea. It says, ē, ĕ, ā – key words: eagle, bread, steak.

For review: Letters are said in a more clipped way. D is not pronounced “duh,” it is “d.”

If making a deck, the front of the card would have the letter in bold, the back would have the sound and the key word. When showing the deck, if a student says the correct sound, move on.

Sample card:

Cons sound card 2 Consonant sounds card

If they stumble, tell them the sound and the key word.

Have them trace the letter while saying the sound. They can trace on the table or in the air. It is important that they say the sound out loud as the tracing is being done. Pull that card aside and do it again within the drill until it is said correctly.

There is more than one way to say some of the letters. Below is a list of the letters and the sounds that they make along with a key word. These can be used to make a deck.

m         “m”      Milk

s          “s”        Sun    “z”        Rose

f           “f”        Fish

b          “b”       Bat

h          “h”       Hat

j           “j”         Jam

k          “k”        Kite

p          “p”       Pan

t           “t”         Top

c          “k”        Cat                  “s”        City                (Cat in the city)

r           “r”        Ring

l           “l”         Lamp

n          “n”       Nose               “ng”     Think

g          “g”       Gum               “j”         Germy            (Gum that’s germy)

w         “w”       Wagon

d          “d”       Dog

v          “v”        Valentine

y          “y”        Yarn

z          “z”        Zebra

x          “gz”     Exit                 “ks”      Box                 (Exit from a box)

qu       “kw”     Queen

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Don’t Get Ruffled or Baffled by Consonant + le

So far, I have covered R, E, O, C in the REVLOC system of breaking down words to provide rules for easier word pronunciation. Next, comes the L, which stands for Consonant + LE syllable types.

This type of syllable ALWAYS appears at the END of words. The E (the vowel in this type of syllable) is ALWAYS silent. Dictionaries may represent this syllable pronunciation as /b’l/ (to indicate the silence of the e).

Examples of consonant + le syllables:

ble          able                       notice the split:  a  ble – a is an open syllable so it’s long, ble is cons. + le

dle          cradle                    Split: cra (open), dle (cons. + le)

fle           stifle                      Split: sti (open), fle (cons. + le)

gle          bugle                     Split: bu (open), gle (cons. + le)

kle          tinkle                     Spit: tin (closed, but altered by the “ink”), kle (cons. + le)

tle           little                       Split: lit (closed), tle (cons. + le) – notice that if there was only one t, the i would be long.

zle          sizzle                     Split: siz (closed), zle (cons. + le)

ple          maple                   Split: ma (open), ple (cons. + le)

Here are examples of words that use the consonant + le.

Type 1 – middle consonant doubled, this makes only one sound in the middle:

Cuddle (it’s not cud, dle for the pronunciation, but if you only had one d, the u would be long)







Type 2 – consonant you can hear (unlike the previous, you can hear the consonant before the cons. + le syllable here):

Shingle (“ing” alters the sound of the i in this closed syllable)





Type 3 – ck in the middle:

It appears that the break would be, frec, kle. But, when you have a letter combination like ck, it’s a digraph, and blends and digraphs stay together in word breakdowns. So, technically, it’s freck (k)le. Honestly, as long as the person doing the word breaking can pronounce the word at the end of the split, then the word can be broken up any way you want.

But keeping the “ck” together, means a person would not try to pronounce the c AND the k. They are a digraph, which means that they are two letters together making one sound. Other digraphs are ch, tch, sh, th, wh.






Type 4 – open syllable with ble:








Sentences for dictation – always have student read back, aloud, what (s)he has written.

The table was brittle.

His freckles made him humble.

The title of the puzzle made her giggle.

He was gentle with the cattle.

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