As I mention in my sidebar, I wear many hats each day. While I teach middle school math to some of my students, others are still working on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade skills. One of my Intervention groups just completed a mini-study about Consonant -le endings in words. This was serious stuff, folks. What seems like a fairly simple rule really tested the patience of some of the sweetest kids I know.
The students had prior knowledge of syllabication, so we started off with reviewing open and closed syllables. I then began teaching the kids all of the c-le combinations. We use some Orton Gillingham techniques, so we write the combinations on a card and do them flashcard style. (For instance, if I hold up -ble, the students all say “b-l-e says ble”) I then introduced open vowels with c-le endings. This was a piece of cake! We read “Trifle,” the original story that one of our wonderful aides wrote (You can download them for FREE here). We underline all of the words in the story that end with a c-le pattern. Then, we added the words to our chart (seen above).
Next, we went on to closed, short vowels with c-le endings. We read the original story called “Mr. Thumble's Interesting Day.” Again, we underlined the words and added them to our chart.
At this point, the kids were feeling very confident in their ability to both read and write these words. I would dictate words and they would spell them beautifully. No more “gambul” instead of “gamble” or “stabl” instead of “stable.”
And then I threw them for an unexpected loop. I introduced OPEN, short vowels with c-le endings that needed to have the consonant doubled. Wrapping their heads around this was incredibly hard for some of them. We read the story “Apple Soda,” and they had no problem decoding the words, but when it came time to start encoding (spelling) all three types, my poor kids were at a loss for which ones were doubled and which were not. For a moment, I even thought some of them forgot long vs. short vowels.
So, I took our chart that we made and we split apart each word visually. We circled the c-le ending (because it has to remain its very own syllable), circled the vowel to identify whether it was short or long, and then split the two syllables to see if it was open or closed–thus leading us to know whether or not we needed a double consonant. The lightbulbs began to flicker, and slowly but surely the students could see the difference between all three spellings. The anchor chart and splitting the words into parts made all the difference in the world.
Happy Friday, everyone!