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The letter ”y” can be both a consonant and a vowel. There are some rules we can teach our students to help them grasp the concept. Of course, this being English these rules are mostly true and there are exceptions to this as well.
As mentioned ”y” can be a consonant and a vowel. The ”y” usually makes the consonant sound when it is a the beginning of the word. Examples are words like yellow, yacht, yes, or you.
Just to be extra confusing the letter ”y’‘ has more than one vowel sound as well as the consonant sound at the beginning. There are some rules you can use to explain to your students. If the ”y” is at the end of the word, and it is a one syllable word (I will put syllable lessons for young learners on my site as well) like dry, try, buy, why then the ”y” will make the sound of a long i.
If the word has the ”y” at the end but it has two or more syllables then the sound of ”y” is the long e sound. Word examples include candy, actually, fundamentally, tiny, wavy and many many more.
To teach this i have some worksheets and word sorting activities you can check out and i will link to them at the bottom, but also if you need stories and some online games or activities I have found some on the StarFall website. This is a Y as Long e game you can check out.
The worksheets and sorting activities can help form part of a full phonics lesson if you want to teach this. They can be downloaded at the bottom, and if you want to add or edit it i will leave the PowerPoint premium version there as well.