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The vowel team syllable type

Of the six English syllable types the most difficult one is surely the vowel team (or vowel digraph) type! 

In Lexercise, vowel teams are addressed in Level 18.

If you have tips and techniques that you find effective in teaching and practicing vowel teams, please post them here!

Meanwhile, here are some structured language (O-G)  principles for teaching vowel teams explicitly and sequentially:

  • Before the client is ready to address the vowel team syllable type s/he should have mastered the following (less challenging) syllable types:  1) closed  2)  r-controlled  3) open  4) silent -e. 
  • In mastering the previous levels of structured language s/he should have developed a strong phonemic focus.  That is, s/he should be able to accurately and fluently segment and isolate the speech sounds in a syllable (up to 5 or 6 sounds).  In particular, s/he should be able to identify the syllable's vowel sound, as well as the grapheme used to spell it.  S/he should be able to name the syllable's "type" (e.g., 1) closed  2)  r-controlled  3) open  4) silent -e ).
  • With the above preparation, the client is ready to address the vowel team syllable type:
  • Be explicit: Point out the phoneme and the vowel team spelling options (i.e., graphemes).
  • Be systematic:  Taking one phoneme at a time, teach the vowel teams that spell this phoneme. Do this sequentially and cumulatively for all the phonetically regular vowel teams for this phoneme.  (See below.)

 

“long” (tense) vowel sounds

words with this pattern

long a

 <ai> rain

 

 <ay> play

 

 <ey> they

 

<ea> steak

 

<ei> vein 

 

long e

<ee> feet

 

<ea> feat

 

<ei> receive

 

<ie> chief

 

<ey> key

 

long u

 <eu> pneumonia

 

 <ew> chew

 

 <ou> soup

 

 <ue> blue

 

 <ui> suit

 

long i

<ie> pie

 

long o

<oa> boat

 

<oe> toe

 

<ow> snow

 

 

“short” (lax) vowel  sounds

words with this pattern

short e

 <ea> head

 

long i

 <ie> sieve

 

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