• Accenting Rules,  Consonants & Vowels,  Sight Words,  Spelling

    Go Bananas for Schwa

    I’ve written about Schwa before, but I’m seeing a lot of questions around this topic so I want to take a deeper dive into the topic of Schwa. What is a Schwa? Schwa is a term used when a vowel takes on (or gets “swallowed up” by) the “uh” (ŭ) sound. Any vowel can do this and some vowel combinations make the sound as well, for example, doctor (the or takes on a schwa sound) or dollar, (the ar is a schwa). Schwa is represented with an upside-down e: ə Because any a, e, i, o, u, or y can make this sound, and even some letter combinations, it can…

  • Consonants & Vowels,  Spelling,  Vowel Teams

    A Deeper Dive into Generalizations OI/OY, OU/OW, AU/AW

    I’ve written about Orton Gillingham Generalizations before, but I want to take a deeper dive into this topic. What Are Generalization Rules? Generalizations or Generalization Rules are vowel teams that sound alike and also have general rules or situations for when to use them. There are three: OI/OY saying “oi” as in oil/boy OU/OW saying “ou” as in out/cow AU/AW saying “ô” as in auto/paw Generalizations are rules associated with certain sounds that help know when to use each vowel team and in what position to use them in a word. They are tools for spelling and reading words. When do you use each Generalization? OI/OY Generalization Use oi at…

  • Consonants & Vowels

    Speech Pathology in OG

    Speech pathology is important in creating sounds, and this is important in Orton Gillingham because the method relies on teaching in a three-prong approach – auditory, kinesthetic and visual. For a learner with no speech issues, I think the most taught is that there is such a thing a voiced and unvoiced. Let them put their hand on their throat and feel the difference when saying “th” as the word mother versus the word thumb. Mother is voiced th, and thumb is unvoiced. Same th, but sounds differently when one is voiced and unvoiced. This can help feel the letters in the body, as well as hear the difference. If…

  • Consonants & Vowels

    More Facts – Vowel Facts

    Facts About Vowels All single vowels have more than one sound: they all make a long sound, a short sound and a schwa sound. For example: baby = “ā,” apple = “ă,” bandage = “Ə” Short vowels are indicated with a breve – ă 60% of English words have short vowel sounds A vowel followed by a consonant (closed syllable) is usually short = VC. Examples: at, dog, bid, sat, mat, plat, slug ●Exceptions: a vowel followed by the letters r, l, w, or y is NOT short. Curb Call Cow Delay Magic E – the Magic E pattern is VCE. E at the end of the word usually makes…

  • Consonants & Vowels

    It’s a Fact — Consonants

    Today, I want to give you a few facts about consonants. 21 Consonants are: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z Consonants never say their name (except in words like x-ray). Most consonants have one sound. Five consonants have more than one sound: c, g, s, x, n The letter r does not say “er.” It sounds more like a barking dog – “rhhh.” The letter q is ALWAYS followed by a u in English words. They make the sound “kw” as in queen.  The letter x makes three sounds: “ks” as in Box “gz”…

  • Consonants & Vowels

    Phonemic Awareness: Speaking of Individuality

    What’s the importance of phonemic awareness and what exactly does that mean? First, phonics and phonemic awareness is not the same thing. Phonics is the understanding of the relationship of letters and sounds in WRITTEN language. Phonemic awareness is understanding the sounds of language working together in SPOKEN language to make words. According to the National Institute for Literacy, Putting Reading First, Kindergarten Through Grade 3, “If children are to benefit from phonics instruction, they need phonemic awareness.” The document goes on to say, “The reasons are obvious: children who cannot hear and work with the phonemes of spoken words will have a difficult time learning how to relate these…

  • Consonants & Vowels,  Spelling

    Spelling Is Easier with Generalization Rules: OI/OY, OU/OW, AU/AW

    In keeping with the past two posts on spelling consonant sounds and spelling vowel sounds, I am going to cover oi/oy, ou/ow, au/aw generalizations; when to use each to make their sounds. I mentioned these generalizations in my last post in a “Miscellaneous” category. Here I am going more in depth on when to use each letter combination. It can look confusing at first glance to read what I am writing below. If you are not familiar, take your time looking at the rules. Then do the worksheets (or hand give them to a student). On all of these combinations, the dictation is as important as the worksheet. Knowing which…

  • Consonants & Vowels,  Spelling

    Spelling Vowel Sounds: What Music They Make

    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…

  • Consonants & Vowels,  Spelling

    How to Spell a Consonant Sound

    Often in spelling and writing the letters and their pronunciations are considered, but what I had never experienced until working with Orton Gillingham is how to spell a letter sound. This post is on how to spell consonant sounds. Next week, I will cover spelling vowel sounds. There are letters that make sounds, d says “d” (dog), and there are sounds made up of letters, the sound “sh” can be made using the letters sh (shout) or ch (chef). We call that how you “spell” a sound. This can come in handy when teaching how to spell and read. Knowing that certain letters and letter combinations make certain sounds that…

  • Consonants & Vowels

    Get Mixed, Blends & Digraphs

    In my last post of the VCCCV syllable division pattern, or Ostrich words, I talked about blends and digraphs, and I said I would make my next post on these concepts so that Ostrich words will make more sense. That was three Mondays ago – I was out of town in Florida visiting my mom for the past two weeks. Even though I had good intentions of posting, it didn’t happen. But, now I’m back and ready to talk about Blends and Digraphs. First, let’s cover blends. Blends are consonants that when put together we can hear the pronunciation of each letter sound. For example, BL is “b,” “l” as…