Lesson 03

Longer words with 5+ letters



Longer words with 5+ letters

Single letters work the same in 3- and 4-letter words and the same applies to longer words of any length Many longer words have 2 or more syllables. They can be decoded or spelt syllable by syllable and pupils do not then think long words are hard.

Try a spoken word-break:







Try reading/spelling by syllables: hospitality splendid caravan difficulty sentimental comparison (The 2nd o is more like u, a schwa, but when the pupil says the long word, recognises it, he usually repeats it tweaking the ..on at the end to normal pronunciation.)

You can now introduce the long vowels from single letters or delay this until Lesson 7 (magic e).

Vowels can say their name – “long vowels”. First pupils practise the short sound in cat. But think of “bacon”. You can play Bingo with the words:

    • a : bacon pastry Adrian framing

    • e : she equal demon he

    • i : dial pilot I Simon

    • o : Ohio crocus Velcro Tesco

    • u : union unit usual mutual

For new words, try the short vowel sound first, and if that does not give you a word, try the long sound. Before a double consonant, the vowel is short. Otherwise there are so many exceptions that there IS no rule!

What the pupil has learned so far will unlock many hundreds of words, which do not have to be learned as sight words. For a bedtime story, you can now let the learner read the words he can decode, controlled shared reading. Walking in town he can read street signs: STOP, GO, Tesco, Morrison’s, Asda etc.

"To" and "the" do not sound out properly, these are my only two “sight words”.

Another rule to learn at this stage is: e at the end of English words is always silent.

These three levels form a sound foundation for learning the following stage, where two or more letters have to be noticed, written, together, to produce one sound.

Play the games:

  • Bingo

  • Pairs

  • S/ladders

Guide Contributed by Mona McNee - 2010


    • The "schwa" sound was briefly mentioned in the additional notes for Lesson 2. The BBC have a very good learning video here that explores the "schwa" sound.

    • "A vowel can say its name" was a refinement of Mona's phonics programme that was introduced sometime after the video tutorials were made.


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Words of any length