Kids usually learn the silent e sound towards the end of Kindergarten or beginning of first grade, depending on your state and district standards. Silent e is a significant milestone, because for the first time, kids branch off from short vowel words (ex. Hat, met, sip, dog, cup) and read long vowel words (ex. bake, theme, hike, hope, cute). When kids practice reading silent e words, they need to flip flop between silent e and short vowel words—a practice called interleaving. That way, kids cannot guess. With interleaved lists, kids really must do word analysis. In this silent e worksheet, kids can practice learning the difference between silent e and short vowel words:
When to introduce silent e
First, kindergartners learn how to read short vowel words. Short vowel sounds are: a_ as in apple, e_ as in elephant, i_ as in itch, o_ as in octopus, and u_ as in up. Short vowel words include words like: mat, cat, bet, egg, kit, dim, mop, pop, fun, sun… etc. Kids practice reading and spelling short vowel words throughout Kindergarten.
Eventually, short vowel word practice becomes more challenging, as kids are expected to read consonant digraphs and consonant blends. Some consonant digraphs include: th as in that and math, sh as in ship, ch as in chop, _tch as in batch, wh_ as in when, _ing as in king, and _ang as in sang. Next, Kindergartners practice words with blends like: bless, truck, sand, grass, plop, must, jump… etc. After this, kids in late kindergarten or early first grade learn silent e.
Introduce silent e with a contrasting list like the following:
A list like this will help kids understand the difference between long and short vowels. Short vowels are more familiar to them at this point. Long vowels say the letter names of a, e, i, o, u. Silent e words are a subset of long vowel words.
You can teach your student something like this: The e at the end makes the first vowel say its name. This is called a long vowel. Write a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e on flashcards and have your student practice these new sounds along with short vowels and consonant digraphs. Your student should not memorize consonant blends. Instead, she should read consonant blends (ex. bl, pl, gr, sp, nd, st…etc.) sound-by-sound.
Silent e words
The above silent e worksheet helps kids practice silent e words. There are many silent e words, including:
chase, poke, blade, nice, home, drive, brake, shine, bone, take, stone, duke, nose, mile, cave, ripe, pile, note, nine, robe, tide, use, five, mole, pane, rule, slide, rope, drone, lone, rise, mane, male, dine, crane, stake, scale, skate, globe, glade, grade, brave, same, save, file, cope, froze, wake, hide, fine, pale, dove, cove, gave wave, plume, rate, safe, game, fire, lake, crime, snake, shake, chase, thine, hole, range, pride, wise, rake, cake.
Silent e books
Reading elephant offers printable silent e books. Our printable phonics books allow students to practice phonics sounds in a gradual, step-by-step fashion. This way, kinds, including struggling students, can ease into each new reading stage.
For another silent e worksheet, check out our igloo silent e color and read.