How To Teach Silent E Words – The Vowel-Consonant-E Syllable

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Next up in my syllables series is the vowel-consonant-e syllable, also known as CVCe, Magic E, Silent E, Sneaky E, Bossy E, and a few other fun names. In this post, I’ll explain what the vowel-consonant-e syllable is and how to teach it using multisensory methods so your students can read silent e words.

If you missed the previous syllable posts, you can find them all here.

What is the vowel-consonant-e syllable?

Vowel-consonant-e syllables end in a final silent e with a consonant just before the silent e. This silent e makes the vowel before it have a long sound.

what is the vowel-consonant-e syllable poster

How to teach Silent E Words

The Magic E Story

My favorite way to introduce silent e words to my students is to tell them the Magic E story. The gist is that the Magic e has special powers and it jumps over the consonant to help the vowel before it say its name. They really like this story and it sticks with them.

One thing to point out to them is that Magic e can only jump over 1 vowel. So if they come across a word like edge, they’ll know not to apply the Magic e rule because there are two consonants between the first vowel and the e.

the magic e story for silent e words

Marking Vowels and Consonants

It’s also very important to get students into the habit of marking the vowel and consonants. I usually have them ‘spot and dot’ the vowels above and label the consonants and vowels below the word.

This means they put a dot over the vowels to mark them. Then they write V or C under the letters in the word as shown below. This helps them to clearly see the pattern vce.

how to teach CVCE words

Introduce 1 long vowel at a time

This is more for struggling readers as it always helps to focus on one sound at a time. Start with a-e words like lake, fame, ate.

From there go on to the other vowels only adding one at a time and continuing to review the previous.

Vowel-Consonant-E Activities

There are a variety of multisensory activities you can use to teach and reinforce the vce syllable. Below are a few easy options.

I like to have this handy little silent e words list, which you can download by joining my email list and getting access to my library of freebies.

silent e words list printable cvce words list

Create CVCe words from CVC words

Transform CVC words into CVCe words. I like to do blending drills with CVC words and I just add an E to the end to see if my students can read the new silent e word.

Using phonogram cards, letter tiles, blending boards is an easy way to do this. It’s also very helpful to use nonsense words.

Here is an example with a nonsense word:

  1. Show the word sen
  2. Have the student read the word. They should pronounce it as s/e/n with a short e sound.
  3. Add an e to the end to make the nonsense word sene
  4. Have the student read the new word which would now read as s/ee/n with a long e sound.
magic e phonogram card activities silent e words cvce words activity

Play games using Silent E words

You can transform any game into a VCE game by having students read CVCE words during their turn. For example, I sometimes use Connect 4 along with a deck of CVC and VCE words. On each turn, you pick up a card and read it aloud, then add or delete the final e to make a new word.

You can also search for or make VCE board games for 2 or more players. My students love this quick Magic E game and it’s easy to add to any lesson.

Search Teachers Pay Teachers for silent e, cvce, vowel-consonant-e, or Magic e activities and you’ll find many free options.

Create a deck of CVC and CVCe words with corresponding words like cam/came and have students match them or play memory.

Regardless of the game you play it’s very important to have students always read aloud as the focus is learning the VCE pattern. Make students read the target words aloud and change them from CVC to VCE or VCE to CVC.

how to teach magic e, marking vowel-consonant-e words

Diagram VCE words

Students can diagram VCE words by marking vowels and consonants, then drawing the little arrow from the e jumping over the consonant to the vowel and drawing the horizontal line over the vowel (macron) indicating the long sound it has.

Make this even better by having students say the story as they do the action. “The e jumps over the consonant to help the vowel say its name”. Then of course have them read the word aloud.

Another tip is color coding vowels and consonants. Choose a color for each and stick to that color for every activity. I like to do red vowels and black consonants. When my students label the vowels and consonants they have black and red markers to write the V and C underneath in the corresponding color.

magic e poster cvce anchor chart silent e anchor chart

Conclusion

Make sure to download my free 6 syllable types posters for your classroom from my freebies library, which includes the VCE syllable poster shown above. I like to print out the reference sheet with all 6 syllable types for my students and place it in a plastic sleeve for them to reference as needed.

I will be creating resources for all of these soon so stay tuned! In the meantime, subscribe to my list get access to all my literacy freebies!

Check out all my syllable posts here.

If you’re looking for more tips on teaching reading to struggling learners, check out these other posts:

Want to remember this? Save All About The Vowel-Consonant-E Syllable to your favorite Pinterest board!

how to teach magic e activities and strategies pin image with examples
how to teach magic e to struggling readers pin image with examples

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