The “J” rule says: -dge is used after one short vowel at the end of a one syllable word to spell “j.”
This means, in a one syllable word where there is a short vowel sound followed by a “j” sound, the letters –dge are being used to make that sound.
Examples of this rule are:
ă badge, cadge
ĕ pledge, edge, wedge, sedge, hedge, ledge
ĭ ridge, bridge, smidge
ŏ dodge, lodge
ŭ budge, fudge, smudge, judge, nudge, trudge
Of course, as with most rules, there are exceptions.
There are 5 multi-syllabic words which use –dge to spell “j”:
In contrast to the use of –dge when there is a one syllable, short vowel word, there is another way to spell “j” that should be addressed.
The sound “j” is usually spelled –ge or –dge.
Using –ge to spell “j” requires going back to another rule called the C&G Rule, which says that when you have the letter C or G followed by e, i, or y, the c will make the “s” sound and the g will make the “j” sound. This is why –ge at the end of words spells, “j” and not “g.”
Use –ge after a consonant, diphthong, and in a magic e word.
Examples: merge, stooge, rage
There are other letters and combinations that make the “j” sound, but I am going to save them for an overview once I have covered all of the Short Vowel Rules. It is the “j” sound in multisyllabic words and it gets too confusing to put them all in one post. For now, the “J” Rule and its exceptions are important to learn. As well as the contrasting –ge use in one syllable words. If it is a one syllable word and it isn’t a short vowel then it isn’t –dge, it is –ge being used to make the “j” sound.
Here is a “cloud sheet” on the “J” Rule.
Here is a dictation sheet on the “J” Rule. The dictation should use real words first then move to non-sense words to ensure the rule is being used rather than memorization.
Nonsense words can be something like: smedge, crudge, bidge, ladge. Have students put the words you speak out loud into the correct column on the sheet.
The point to dictation is to be sure that the correct short vowel can be heard with the “j” sound. It commits to memory that sound and associates it with one syllable, short vowel words.
In addition, something fun could be incorporated, like draw a picture or have kids draw a picture using the words. Or write a story using as many of these words as possible.
Example of a drawing or story: a bridge, by the water’s edge with a judge sitting on top playing dodge-ball with a man that has is a bit of a pudge.
Or, a lodge where they make fudge and all the cooks pledge not to nudge the customers to eat too much fudge so they will not wedge themselves in the lodge.
Each person can then share their picture or story and show it – ask them to trace the letters as they talk about each word. Anything to make sure that the rule is seen, heard and used in a physical manner.
That’s OG – be creative and get really involved with each concept on multiple levels of understanding. Not only does this insure that there is a broad understanding of the concepts, but it also does not assume that everyone learns the same way as the next person. It allows each person to learn the way they learn best.