I’m excited to share a free silent e decodable text. Simply click on the link “Silent e Book” to download. My silent e decodable text, just like all my phonics books, is systematic, meaning sounds are introduced slowly and gradually. This step-by-step progression allows students to adjust to each new unit. If you’re interested in slowly acclimating your students to read silent e books, check out the short vowels, consonant digraphs and consonant blends books in our library.
There are a lot of names for the e at the end pattern. Some common names are: silent e, bossy e, magic e and sneaky e. I chose the term silent e for this post because it is the most common term.
Teaching silent e words
You might find that the silent e pattern is one of the hardest for students to learn. For the first time, students discover that there are many vowels sounds, not just short vowels. However, there is an effective way to teach the e at the end pattern. To begin, introduce the student to a list:
This is called a contrasting list. It allows the student to identify differences between old and new knowledge.
Give the student a moment to analyze the list and ask her, “What is the difference between these two lists of words?” Likely, she’ll identify that there’s an e at the end of one list. Next, highlight the sound of the first vowel. Talk about how the e changes the sound of the first vowel, making it long.
TEACHER: “There’s an e at the end of cape. The first vowel says ay. It’s a long vowel. Long vowels say their name.”
To thoroughly explain your point you can go through each word and discuss why the first vowel is long or short. Here’s another sample:
TEACHER: “There’s an e at the end of hope. The first vowel says oa. The e at the end makes the first vowel say its name. It’s a long vowel.”
Try to engage your student with questions as you go through each word in the list.
Silent e decodable text
To have your student practice, I’ve created a free silent e decodable text called, “The Red Rose.“ There’s no better practice your student can have than actually reading a silent e book. The student should have exposure to both silent e and short vowels, so she doesn’t automatically know the sound of the vowel. Expect her to pause, look at the end of the word to see if there’s an e, and finally decipher whether the first vowel is long or short. Here are the steps:
- Look at the end of the word.
- Is there an e at the end?
- Is the first vowel long or short? If there’s an e, the first vowel is long. If not, the first vowel is short.
- Say the sound of the first vowel.
- Read the word sound-by-sound.
If your student makes an error ask her, “Look at the end of the word. Is there an e? Is the first vowel long or short?” Guide her through this word analysis. A key part of explicit instruction is teaching kids how to analyze words step-by-step.
Engage your student
Even in early grades, you can start implementing reading comprehension strategies. Expect your student to focus on sound-by sound reading methods. Since she’s so focused on learning how to read silent e words, she might not be as focused on the plot of the story—that’s to be expected!
As the teacher, model good reading comprehension tactics: while your student has the cognitive burden of learning new word types, offload the cognitive burden of comprehension monitoring. This will help your struggling reader stay engaged in the story while they learn new phonics sounds. Plus, there’s a simple way to do this. Here’s how to get started.
First, ask questions
“The Red Rose,” is a story of a boy who buys a pot from a plant shop. He’s surprised when he sees a stem sprouting into a red rose. The beauty of the rose delights him, and he’s excited to give the rose to his mom as a gift.
Based on the story you can ask your student the following questions before he reads: “Have you ever taken care of a plant? What do plants need to survive? If you had a rose, who would you give it to?”
Relate his answers to the story
Next, before your student reads, say something like the following:
TEACHER: “You would give the rose to your grandma. Let’s see who the boy in the story decides to give the rose to. Also, as you said, plants need sunlight and water. Does the boy in the story do a good job of caring for the plant? Does he water it and set it in the sun?”
Now you’ve given your student a way to relate to the child in the silent e decodable text. You’ve also given her questions to answer. As she reads, she’s likely to discover the answers.
Introduce vocabulary words
There are rarely vocabulary words in phonics books. Thus, invent them. Think of words that will help you and your student discuss the silent e decodable text. You can introduce vocabulary words like “vital” and “scarlet.”
TEACHER: “Scarlet is a bright red color, like the color of strawberries in the summertime. The boy in the story nourishes a scarlet rose. Can you think of anything else that’s scarlet?”
Try to get your student to use “scarlet” as he talks about the color. Next, introduce “vital.”
TEACHER: “Vital means very important. Water and sunlight are vital for plants. Plants can’t survive without water and sunlight. What are some things that are vital for us?”
I hope your student enjoys the free silent e decodable text.
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