In my last post I talked about how to spell consonants. This week, we will cover how to spell vowels.
It is important to note that when I say “spell” consonants and vowels I am talking about how letters can make more than one sound. For example, a makes a long and short sound, as in make and tack. But to spell the letter a, we can use many combinations to make the long a sound. For example, the long a sound can be spelled using the letters ai, as in rain, train, brain.
The difference that comes out of this is, if someone asks, “What does the letter i say?” You would say, ĭ as in igloo, or ī as in pike. If someone asks, “How do you spell i?” You would say, “With the letters I and y, as in pick or gym.
Here are the vowel sounds and how to spell them.
Long Vowel Sounds
ā – a, a-e (make), ai (rain), ea (steak), ei (feign), eigh (freight), ay (hay), ey (they)
ē – e, e-e (Pete), ea (eagle), ee (bee), ei (ceiling), ie(thief), ey (monkey), y (candy)
ī – i (hi), i_e (pike), y (cry), y_e (type), igh (light), ie (pie)
ō – o (po), o_e (pole), oa (boat), oe (toe), ow (snow)
Long U makes two sounds – yoo and oo
yoo – u, u_e (cute),ew (few), ue (rescue), eu (Europe) – Tip: for long u, deciding if the word is yoo or oo, if a word begins with c, f, or m it will be yoo rather than oo sound – examples: cube, few, mew, fuel, muse, music.
oo – u, u_e (dune), ew (grew), ue (soup), oo (food), ou (soup), ui (fruit)
Short Vowel Sounds
ă – a (apple)
ĕ – e (med), ea (bread)
ĭ – i (igloo), y (gym)
ŏ – (odd)
ŭ – u (mud), o (oven, love, come, brother ), ou (touch, young, double, tough)
oo – oo (blood), u (tulip)
oi – oi (foil), oy (oyster)
ou – ou (noun), ow (now)
ô – a (all), au (auto), aw (saw)
ә (schwa) – a (above), e (legend), I (unicorn) o (cotton), u (fortune), y (syringe)
Here is an exercise on how to use this spelling vowel sounds concept.