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Doubling Rule Introduction

Doubling Rule Practice



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Home > Reading and Spelling Lessons & Word Lists> Dropping Silent E (suffix addition)

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 the e.

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 e, too).

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, for example.

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).

WORD SUFFIX Just Adding Suffix Is there a problem? Decision Final Spelling
home less homeless You need the e to keep the word from becoming hom-less. It's sometimes hard to see that Add the suffix - no changes homeless
shape ing shaping problem -- 'ei' when only one vowel is needed drop the e shaping
become ing becomeing problem - "ei" when only one vowel is needed drop the e (doesn't matter how many syllables) becoming
waste ing wasteing problem - ei when only a vowel is needed drop the e -- doesn't matter that it has an s and at wasting
fame ous fameous too many vowels strung together! drop the e -- even for suffixes like "ous" famous
hope ful hopeful You need to keep this e to keep the "o" long. No change -- just add suffix hopeful
grime  y grimey 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.











Copyright © 1998-2003, Susan Jones, Resource Room/Team Prairie, LLC. All Rights Reserved.