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Suffix addition: dropping silent e
This is done best with a "landscape" view (paper
turned sideways), because it's wider than it is long. It
can also be done on two facing pages in a binder, so the
student can see both pages at once.
Take the time to talk through these ideas and discover the
logic behind dropping the silent e. Keep practicing reading
words with open and closed syllables (rotate and rotten, open
and opposite). You may find that students more easily learn
words like broccoli -- though it's not common to double a
c, it's what keeps that o short.
The silent e rule is more consistent than the doubling
rule. The principle: since the silent e's "job"
is to change a vowel sound, if there is another vowel to
take its place, the e can go away.
Therefore, if the suffix begins with a vowel, you drop
It doesn't matter how many syllables there are, or what
the vowel coming before the silent e sounds like, or whether
there are two consonants ("wasting" drops the
There are some exceptions -- when you need to keep the
e for some other purpose, such as making a c or g say /s/
or /j/, as in "courageous." And there are some
exceptions that are just exceptions -- truly and wholly,
Some students tend to double the consonant, even for silent
e words. There are *no* cases where the consonant is doubled
for a silent e word. If the "base word" has an
e at the end, never double the consonant. Honestly, NEVER!
Teach the principle and the basics until that is mastered
and automatic. Then work in the "exceptions" which
are still true to the principle (courageous, advantageous,
etc.) When these are mastered, add the "real" exceptions.
Sections in italics are the ones the student should complete
(either in writing or orally).
||Just Adding Suffix
||Is there a problem?
||You need the e to keep the word from
becoming hom-less. It's sometimes hard to see that
||Add the suffix - no changes
||problem -- 'ei' when only one vowel
||drop the e
||problem - "ei" when only
one vowel is needed
||drop the e (doesn't matter how many
||problem - ei when only a vowel is needed
||drop the e -- doesn't matter that it
has an s and at
||too many vowels strung together!
||drop the e -- even for suffixes like
||You need to keep this e to keep the
||No change -- just add suffix
||don't need that e, either!
The 'ey' ending usually goes on a noun like monkey,
chimney, jockey, turkey, alley, money...
copyright © 1999 Susan
Jones, Resource Room. All Rights Reserved.