Orton Gillingham for All

I’m Seeing Double – 1-1-1 Doubling Rule Explained

Continuing with Suffix Rules, the first one I will go in depth on is the 1-1-1 Doubling Rule. The grade level this rule corresponds with is 2nd through 12th.

Before teaching this rule, one should know:

  1. What a suffix is
  2. That some suffixes begin with vowels and some with consonants
  3. The difference between one and two syllable words.

The 1-1-1 Doubling Rule says: 1 syllable words ending in 1 consonant after 1 vowel double the final consonant before a vowel suffix.

Why do we double? Because doubling keeps the vowel short.

For this rule, worksheets are great, but it is better if you have plenty of interaction to get this rule across. For example, if you are with a child (or children), write the word and the suffix and ask, did you double? Is the word one syllable? Does it end in 1 Consonant? Is there a vowel before the consonant? Is there only 1 vowel (versus a vowel team which changes things)?

Example: step + ing = stepping

Example of not doubling: pump + ing = pumping   Why? Consonant blend at the end of pump keeps us from doubling.

For dictation, be sure to give non-sense words as well as real words.

Below is a sheet explaining the rule and a worksheet. You should also do dictation using nonsense words.

Examples of nonsense words to use for dictation:

Bleg + er (blegger)

Cretch + ing (cretching)

Prag + ness (pragness)

Thronk + ful (thronkful)

Sprug + er (sprugger)


1-1-1 Rule cloud sheet

1-1-1 Rule cloud sheet

1-1-1 doubling rule worksheet

1-1-1 doubling rule worksheet

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Illustrations of Suffix Rules, An Overview

Continuing with Suffixes, today I will create an overview of suffix rules. The three suffix rules are: 1-1-1 Doubling Rule, E Drop Rule and the Y-Changing Rule. I will do an overview today, but go in depth in my next posts.

1-1-1 Doubling rule is: 1 syllable words ending in 1 consonant after 1 vowel, you double the final consonant before a vowel suffix.

Why double? Because doubling the consonant after the vowel keeps the vowel short.

1 1 1 doubling illustration

E Drop Rule is: Words ending in e drop the e before adding a vowel suffix.

e drop illustration

Y Changing Rule is: Words ending in y change the y to i if there is a consonant before the y

y changing rule

This is the overview of suffix rules I will be covering in the next three posts.

Also see –ed and Latin Suffixes –ci, -si, -ti, -xi


The Ending Gives It Meaning – Suffixes

I know many of you who have followed my blog probably thought I would never come back to it, but here I am. I am committed once again to writing the wonders of Orton Gillingham! My daughter was recently diagnosed as mildly dyslexic. She was in pre-K when I took this class and I had no idea she was going to get this diagnosis later (she is now in first grade). I am so glad to have the tools and knowledge that OG has provided me in my daughter’s journey! Not as much because she lets me teach her, I have a tutor that sees her twice a week, but because I understand where she is in her process. So whether you are using this information for yourself, your class or for your child, know that OG is just darn good knowledge to have. Thanks for reading!

Now, about those suffixes…

The English language uses affixes to root words to give new meaning by adding prefixes to the beginning and suffixes to the end of a word. It’s efficient – we don’t have to learn new words to get a new word, we just add something to the beginning or the end of a word we already know and there we have it, a new meaning.

Suffixes, endings and stable endings are three words used when describing the ending added to a word to change its meaning. Those three terms mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. I use suffix, so that is what I will use in the post, but any of those three will do.

Suffixes can begin with vowels or consonants. This is important to teach students because when learning suffix rules later, it matters. Suffixes beginning with a vowel are called “vowel suffixes” and suffixes beginning with consonants are called “consonant suffixes.”

The reason to teach suffixes and their meanings is twofold. One, by teaching what they are and what they mean, you increase the student’s vocabulary skills dramatically. Two, when a student can decode a word by immediately seeing the suffixes and dividing the word out, suddenly, a word that was very long and scary is much easier to manage.

For example, Institutional   becomes   institu tion al

In order to prepare students for suffix addition rules that are coming their way, like the E-drop rule and Y-change rule, you should present the most common suffixes.

They are: -ed, -en, -er, -est, -ful, -ing, -ish, -less, -ly, -ness, -y.

Students need to know that suffixes come at the end of words to sometimes add new meaning and/or to put a base word into a particular part of speech. For example, -ed is used as a past tense ending; -er is a noun ending, as in teacher, or to make a comparative degree of an adjective as in smaller.

Other tidbits:

  • Teach/learn simple endings first. –er, -ing, -ness
  • Some endings only go on words which are a certain part of speech. For example, -ous (outrageous) only goes on words used as adjectives. –ist (pianist) words are always nouns and refer to people.
  • You cannot hear the spelling of some suffixes because the schwa is present. Examples, -ance, -ence, -able, -ible, -ant, -ent.
  • Some endings are tricky for even the best spellers. For example, -or (actor) vs. –er (grammar)

Here are common suffixes and example words.

Vowel Suffixes

-ed (yelled)

-ing (falling)

– y (rainy)

– er (lower)

-en (sweeten)

-est (slowest)

-ist (lobbyist)

-ish (babyish)

-able (payable)

-age (package)

Consonant Suffixes

-ful (thankful)

-ly (bravely)

-less (nameless)

-ness (fitness)

-ment (statement)

Sources: Schenck school class and the book How to Teach Spelling Laura Toby Rudginsky and Elizabeth C. Haskell

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More Syllable Division: The Long & Short of –ci, -si, -ti, -xi

Today, I received a great question from a reader. After my last post on syllable division, she asked me, “What do you say about the letter i in the following examples: div i sion in ci sion de li cious am bi tion ig ni tion???”
I can understand the confusion, based on my previous posts. According to what I have said so far, those I’s should be long because the syllable is considered open. Now we get into a more advanced rule of division. It has to do with the suffixes on those words.
This division rule has to do with -ci, -si, -ti, -xi being suffixes. They are Latin in origin.
In words containing these suffixes, you look at the letter preceding the suffix to determine if it is a long or short vowel.

A’s, O’s and U’s are always LONG
E’s are sometimes long and sometimes short
I’s are always SHORT
Examples of words for each letter:
A: com pli ca tion (that I in the syllable before the ca is a schwa), spa cious, gla cial, na tion — A is always LONG
O: so cial, fer o cious, ex plo sion, com mo tion — O is always Long
U: con sti tu sion (I in syllable before tu is a schwa), con fu sion, eff u sion — U is always Long
E: com ple xion (e can go either way, long or short! must test it because there is no rule), com ple tion, pre cious, spe cious
I: ig ni tion, am bi tious, in ni tial, arti fi cial (I in syllable before fi is a schwa), di vi sion — I is always SHORT
A trick to remembering these is: you can “Fill In” letters that are “strong” (or LONG).
Picture an “a” where the space is filled, O filled in, U can be filled in. “e” can only fill a little bit (in that top part) so it is sometimes long sometimes short, but the “weak” “i” holds nothing, so it is always short.

ci si ti xi long short


Here is a work sheet I did in class and an answer key (in case my writing is illegible).

ci si ti xi worksheet

ci si ti xi ans key



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

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