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Home > Reading and Spelling Lessons & Word Lists> Word Lists Index >Word List Samples > Closed "short a" words


Closed Syllables - easy "short a" words

These relatively easy-to-read words have a clear "short a" sound, and provide good practice changing consonant sounds. Practice in order - either from the list or a deck of index cards - until they are easy and quick. You might even want to time them and chart progress. Have student read each word in the group and discover how the change of consonant makes the sounds of the word change.

An important and often overlooked part of this process is having the student figure out and explain -- in the student's own words -- what is happening when consonants change. The thought processes that s/he goes through to get beyond intuitively recognizing the effect of the change, to the point of being able to explain it, begins laying the foundations for being able to transfer that knowledge successfully. At first this may be laborious and its worth questionable, especially if the student is accurately reading. And, since at this stage of teaching you're trying to establish trust and successful habits, use your judgment if the "talking out" task is frustrating. However, it's precisely the connections between action and language that need to be developed. It's especially those bright kids with specific language problems (and especially the impulsively fast responders), who have little trouble learning to read the syllables, that will benefit from taking time to think and talk the process through.

Use the second group of words for the student to apply this knowledge and explain the changes to you. Encourage discovery and review of patterns (that 'sh' makes one sound with two letters, for example), and discussions of meanings of words.

Listen for troublesome consonants. Are blends much harder than single consonants? Are there some consonants - q, x, or y especially - which are less securely known? If so, practice them!

Be sure the students get practice reading and spelling the syllables and sounds. Each time you go through the list reading it, finish by having them spell some of the syllables as you dictate them - by 'writing' with a finger in the air or on the desk, while saying the letters out loud. It's very important to involve the motion and the talking and the listening, to prevent training a student to be an excellent flash card reader at the expense of transferring that knowledge to reading and spelling. In addition, using the words (especially less familiar ones) helps reinforce the purpose behind accurate decoding - to get meaning.

Never assume that a student is "picking up" things -- ask. Ask what's changing from word to word. Asking is infinitely better than telling, too -- just try to ask the right question so your student tells you the right answer.

at at
cat sat
sat spat
sad splat
had splash
glad flash
lad flask
lack ask
quack mask
sack mash
slack lash
stack flash
smack flax
smash lax
ash ax
at tax


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