Short Vowel Rules

Short Vowel Rule Overview: FLOSS, Pitch, Judge, Stack

My most recent posts covered the Short Vowel Rules in Orton Gillingham. Today I would like to give an overview of all four of these rules. I will also provide a practice worksheet and a quiz on these rules.

Now that you have seen all four rules, grouping them together as “Short Vowel Rules” should make sense. If not, then once you see them in an overview, I think you will see a pattern.

The first rule we covered was FLOSS. This rule says:

FLOSS: Double f, l, and s at the end of one syllable words following one short vowel.

Notice that the word FLOSS is an example of the very type of word we are talking about and it just so happens to contain the f, l, and the s. That’s why it is called the FLOSS rule.

Exceptions to this rule, one syllable words that do not double, but following the rule would: if, chef, pal, nil, sol, has, this, us, thus, yes, bus, pus, plus

Few words double, but according to the rule should not: ebb, odd, egg, err, shirr, buzz, fuzz, jazz

Multisyllabic words ending in “s” after one short vowel sound will regularly double (end in ss). This is because a single s in English words regularly indicates the plural. Example: Address versus Addresses (if we ended Address in only one s, it could indicate more than one address. Ending it in double s indicates one Address.

Suffixes –less and –ness will double the final s.

Be careful when dealing with L words. When there is an a, followed by l, the a will typically not sound like a short vowel sound. Examples: fall, hall, small, squall, mall

Be careful with words that have long vowel sounds, but still have the double at the end: knoll, scroll

Know that u can make the sound “oo” which is considered to a short vowel sound. Examples: pull, full

The “CHRule

The “CH” Rule says: -tch is used after one short vowel at the end of one syllable words to spell “ch.”

Examples: match, batch, pitch, scotch, fetch, hutch
“ch” is usually spelled ch or tch.

Use ch at the beginning of a word, after a consonant and after a diphthong. Examples: chair, drench, screech.

There are four exceptions and we use the helpful word: WORMS to teach them.
W hich
R ich
M uch
S uch

Exception word: Dispatch


Anglo-Saxon suffixes can be added to root words which have the “ch” sound without changing the root spelling. Examples: teacher, kitchen, hatchet

Be aware of two endings: -ture and –tion. Both of these have the “ch” sound at the beginning of them. Examples: picture, attention.

A few other words with tu have the “ch” sound. Examples: virtue, spatula

“J” Rule

“J” Rule says: -dge is used after one short vowel at the end of one syllable words to spell “j.”

Examples: wedge, judge

Use –ge after a consonant, diphthong, and in a magic e word. Examples: merge, stooge, rage

Students need to understand the C&G Rule in which the letter g followed by an e, I, or y will have a soft sound of “j.”

There are five multisyllabic words that use –dge at the end. They are: acknowledge, cartridge, knowledge, partridge and porridge

There are many multisyllabic words which use –age to spell “ij” at the end. Examples: garbage, manage

There are a few multisyllabic words which use –ege or –ige to spell “ij” at the end. Examples: college, privilege, sacrilege, vestige

Sometimes in English the letter d (with I or u after it) wounds like “j.” Examples: Soldier, graduate

A frequently used root word, ject, is not spelled with g as one might suspect. Examples: object, project

The “K” Rule

The “K” Rule says: -ck is used after one short vowel at the end of one syllable words to spell “k.”

Examples: lock, stack, pick, deck, duck

The sound “k” is usually spelled with a c, ck, or k.

Use k after a consonant, diphthong, or in a magic e word. Examples: trunk, spook, lake

Use c at the end of multisyllabic words after a short vowel. Examples: music, cosmic, psychic, physic


The letter c is by far the most common spelling for “k.”

Which using the letter c, more than half the time it till be a hard c.

When k is used as an initial letter, it usually occurs before e and I because c could not function as a “k” sound. Most of the words in which initial k is followed by a, o, or u are taken from a foreign language. Examples: kabob (Turkish), kachina (Hopi), kosher (Yiddish)

In a few words from the French, the ending sound of “ek” is spelled –que. Examples: technique, antique

When adding a suffix to a word that begins with e, I, or y, insert a k before the suffix to prevent the C&G rule from being enacted and making the c sound like “s.” Examples: frolic becomes frolicking, picnic becomes picnicked.

Anglo-Saxon suffixes can be added to roots, which end in “k” sound without changing the root spelling. Examples: chicken, locker

Here’s a worksheet example and the answer key. See if you can tell which rule applies to each word.

short vowel worksheet
short vow answ sht

Here’s a quiz on the rules.

short vowel quiz

Want more? Check out the Workbook Store. This information plus worksheets are in the workbook store.


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