How to Teach the Silent E Rule

Silent E Words, sometimes called Magic or bossy E, is a tricky rule in English, and we will share some great ideas and and tips to help your children and students learn it In a fun, quick and effective way.

To teach Silent E your children are going to need some background knowledge first, this will make it easier when you are explaining the rule to them. IF you need help with any of the belwo steps we have resources all over the site.

This knowledge includes:

  • How to blend and read CVC Words ( Consonant-Vowel-Consonant)
  • The sounds of short vowels
  • The sounds or long vowels ( mainly the AEIOU long sounds)
  • Tell the difference between the two long and short vowel sounds.

Learning vowels, especially moving onto long vowels can be difficult for younger and emergent readers. Short vowels are somewhat easier to grasp as they mostly say one sound. Long vowels however present a whole set of different challenges. There are rules that we can teach our children and students that help put some of these sounds into context. One of these rules is the Silent E rule. Silent / Magic E makes the preceding vowel say its name (its long sound). There is usually a consonant between the Silent E and the preceding vowel. Check out the list below for some examples.

Just to be warned in advance, like so much in English Most rules have an exception and there are some words that look like magic E words that aren’t. We will list those below so you are aware as well.

List of Silent E Words

Base wordSilent E WordBase WordSilent E word
cutcutematmate
shinshinetwintwine
cubcubepanpane
vanvanewinwine
notnotedimdime

How to teach Silent E rules to your students.

We have found teaching the Silent E rule is best done by following a series of steps.

  • Reintroduce the CVC or CCVC word and ask for the sounds.
  • Ask them to point out which one I the short vowel sound.
  • Ask them to try to say the word with a long vowel sound instead (demonstrate this)
  • Now add the Silent E at the end of the word, and ask them to say it again.
  • Now explain the rules of Silent E, Magic E or Bossy E. It makes the vowel before say its name!
  • Keep going with other resources, and try to find a reader or book with examples and play games to reinforce. We have examples of resources below, both ours and other sites.
  • Consolidate with the Magic E song (see below)

The important skills students are developing is the ability to see the individual aspects of words and to be able to draw on rules they have been taught and implement skills that they have learnt. To develop both of these is it important to provide them with best resources to do this. Children learn in different ways, and have different motivators so collect a classroom kit that can hit as many of these as you can and you can provide station work for them , or address their needs individually without crazy amounts of work for you. We have some of these listed below for you. These resources are both free and paid and from our own resource bank and some of the better ones out there. We have included games, online activities and worksheets to help differentiate as much as possible.

Resources for teaching Magic E.

Online Resources

We have already written about some of the better online Silent E resources in this post. However we also have two games that may be of use in our inhouse online games collection. One Magic E online game is aimed entirely at Magic E and the others in in a larger Phonics app and is called Phonics Hops and Pop that may be of use as well. both links are on the images below.

Silent

Silent E game – Great for spelling

Phonics Hop and Pop

Starfall has magic e games and readers.

Silent E Printable Resources – Worksheets

We have a selection of worksheets and activities which we highlight below that focus completely on Silent E and practicing consolidation fo the rules around it. We also link in some cool resources from other sites. These are free to use. There is also a link to our Long and Short Vowel Workbook that has 50 plus pages of worksheets and activities on long vowels, including Magic E worksheets.

Magic E scramble Phonics Worksheets

Silent E scramble – Great for spelling

Silent E worksheets

The Measured Mom has great resources too.

Silent E Printable Resources – Activities

Children learn better with games, so do adults we just forget that easier, so for all of our phonics topics we make games and activities to go with the more traditional worksheets. Above you can see the silent E online classroom and individual games we make, however not every one has access to high levels of technology in their classrooms so we have prepared Silent E printable games to play with instructions for both parents and teachers. The final link is our bumper book of long and short vowels activities. This hopefully helps you and us!

Connect Four Phonics

Silent e connect four game!

Magic E bingo

Long and Short Vowels Workbook

We have a Huge Workbook of long and short vowel activities.

I love to teach magic E, especially to younger learners. It is an easy win when teaching vowels and adds a lot to their comprehension and reading skills. At this stage I don’t introduce exceptions to this rule ( looking at you gone and love!) but just let them celebrate their progress. There are many more vowel rules, but this is probably the simplest to introduce after they have mastered CCVC and long vowel sounds. It is better to start with something that they can develop their confidence. Silent E is a rule that by following the steps above, or similar in your lessons, they will master quickly and easily. The next rule is the two vowels go walking rule and we cover that next.

As promised there are some words that really should follow the Magic / Silent E rule but don’t some examples are below for you. Silent E actually does more than just say its name. It has 7 purposes. and we have a poster for you here to download as well.

There is one more resource that I use all through the lesson. That is the magic E Song. It is simply AWESOME. You can watch it below. It works so well it almost, almost, gets rid of the need of any of our activities. They always say finish on a song….

Happy Teaching

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, mostly English but dabbled in outdoor pursuits and media. Thought is was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children. Feel free to take a look at our resources, email us on info@makingenglishfun.com, or jump on the Facebook group to ask questions. Happy learning, teaching or playing!

2 Comments on “How to Teach the Silent E Rule

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