Silent e is a common phonics rule. Some silent e words include: skate, gate, hike, pile, poke, cove, cute, rake… etc. The silent e rule also goes by the name of bossy e and magic e. Kids usually learn silent at the end of Kindergarten or beginning of first grade. In addition, kids should learn silent e exceptions. Educators should teach silent e exceptions to avoid confusing the student.
Silent e exceptions
Silent e exceptions include:
have, some, one, there, gone, love, sure, where, are, come, done, give, live, move, whose
Kids should learn the most common of these sight words (like have, some, one, are, there) at the beginning of Kindergarten. However, after kids learn the silent e rule, you can highlight that these common sight words break the rule. Oftentimes, kids will point this out on their own: “Hey, one should really say own if it followed the silent e rule, and have should say haiv.”
This epiphany shows that the student understands the silent e rule and sees that there are exceptions to the rule.
Although there are 15 silent e exceptions I outlined above, there are vastly more words with an e at the end that follow the silent e rule.
Introducing silent e
When you introduce silent e to your student, present him with a contrasting list like the above. Have him read the left column, you read the right, and afterwards have him compare the words. Say something like, “What makes these words on the left different from these words on the right?” Likely, he’ll point out that the words on the right have an e at the end.
Next, describe what the e does to the first vowel: the e at the end makes the first vowel long. The e at the end makes the first vowel say it’s name.
Teaching silent e exceptions
Teach silent e exceptions as sight words. Be sure your student learns to read them in books and spell them.
To help your student practice reading silent e words and silent e exceptions, check out our printable phonics books.