Orton Gillingham Coaching: Teaching Magic-E (Silent E) Syllables, Tools & Strategies

Video on Magic E Syllables in REVLOC System of Labeling Syllables

Teaching Magic-E (Silent E) Syllables, Tools & Strategies

Magic E is the second syllable pattern you teach in Orton Gillingham in the REVLOC system of syllable patterns.

Magic E Syllable Pattern

The Magic E pattern is VCEVowel, Consonant, Silent E at the end. The silent E makes the vowel say its name, giving it a long vowel sound.

What a Student Should Know to Learn the Magic-E Pattern

A student must know what a vowel and consonant are to be able to grasp the concept of syllables. They do not have to know the concept of what a syllable is in full to teach the Magic E syllable pattern, but you will want to use the words, “the e at the end is silent and makes the vowel say its name. This is a magic-e syllable.

If you do give a definition of a syllable, it can be something like, “words are made of syllables,” or “a syllable is a part of a word with a vowel in it.” You should have already covered closed syllables with students and used the term syllable in teaching the closed syllable pattern (CVC), so now things will become a little clearer for students. Now they have two syllable patterns.


Activity #1

First, you have cards in your reading vowels deck that teach each sound with a key word. Do this First. Get the student used to seeing the pattern, knowing the sounds, and key words.

a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e (makes the oo and yoo sounds) and y_e (usually taught 3rd grade and up)

From OGforALL Scope & Sequence Workbook One
Activity #2

The best way I’ve found to teach Magic E Syllable is by comparison with Closed Syllables. You can do this with cards that have a flap, or worksheets. If you do use a worksheet, make sure students read out loud what they write. Read the closed, add the e, read the new word with Magic-E.

Sample Magic E Worksheet from OGforALL Scope & Sequence Workbook One
Activity #3

You can also have cards with closed and magic e as a deck, having words like bad/bade, dad/dade, pil, pile (on separate cards), and using the cards to get to automaticity in recognizing the change in vowel sounds. Read out loud each word. Be sure to include non-sense words (which are also syllables), something like lume, mome, sut, fem, etc.

Be sure to do dictation. Start by dictating words and syllables and be sure to include non-sense words. You also can do dictation phrases and sentences, like, I hate that hat -or- That fad will fade.

Activity #4

Have students label the words VCE to get them ready to do syllable division. Give a sheet with closed and magic e and have them go through and label each vowel/consonant and then say E or C. You can also have them mark the long vowel with a macron (the little line over a long vowel) and the short vowels with a breve (the little u shape over the short vowel).

Magic E/Closed Practice from OGforALL Scope & Sequence Workbook One
Activity #5

Once students understand the concept that the vowel is long because of the silent e (magic e) you can put two syllables next to one another that are words and have them put those together. This will be a great start to dividing VCCV REPTILE words down the road.

At first, keep it simple.

For example, at first you might use words like.

rep tile,    in  vade,     ig nite,      man date

You can also practice blends.

stam pede,     in clude

Be sure to include dictation in doing these two syllable words. Have the student write each syllable separately. Ask them to say each syllable out loud after writing pronouncing slow then faster. Make sure you are pronouncing each sound clearly and separately when dictating.

Final Word

A student now has two syllable types to compare to one another, closed and Magic E syllables. Soon, based on the Scope & Sequence they will be dividing RABBIT words and the syllable concept will start to make more sense.

Once you get to OPEN syllables, the idea that you can have a syllable with one vowel, but not a syllable with only a consonant becomes very clear.

Just remember, with the Magic E, as with any lesson in Orton Gillingham, you want your student to hear it (auditory), see it (visual) and feel it (kinesthetic).

Want more?

Scope & Sequence Workbooks (Bundle): https://bit.ly/2YN0XDP

Scope & Sequence Workbook One: https://bit.ly/3kvjg8v

Workbook Store: https://bit.ly/3llnvDp

Sheet with REVLOC Explained in Video: https://bit.ly/3Ae04RZ Whiteboard in video: https://amzn.to/3zxk1CL Creating

Drill Cards Link to FREE Card Template: https://bit.ly/3Eb3LuO

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