The Prerequisite for Teaching Silent Final E

Silent E with Shurley English.jpg

If there’s one subject I enjoy teaching almost as much as English grammar, it’s phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling! I know it’s strange, but my linguistic brain has always identified with letters and the sounds they represent. When I began teaching phonemic awareness and phonics as an aid for spelling, letters began to take on a personality in my brain. It happened quite by accident, but I started noticing that certain letters could be grouped based upon their attributes of both position and function. So, without getting too deep into the linguistics, I would like to introduce you to four important reasons for the Silent Final E. And once kids understand the “why”, it will be easier for them to remember to include the silent e on words that require it. Below is Part 1, which will explain an important feature of vowel pairs. This is a prerequisite to lock down with kids before moving on to the first rule.

You will want to teach the following basic letter pattern concept:

Vowel + Silent Final E : Pattern (V + e)

-When you put a Vowel e just after any one of the other vowels, you make a Vowel Team.

-A Vowel Team is two vowels side by side that make one sound.

-When you put an e after any of the vowels, you will hear the first vowel say its long sound, and the e becomes a silent e.

Here’s a completed list of these vowel teams:

Vowel Pattern with Shurley English.png

Next time, I will officially introduce Rule 1 for Silent Final E: The Split-Vowel Spelling Rule. You won’t want to miss it!


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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.


He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.