Today let’s talk about a common long vowel pattern that early readers need to know about; the silent e.
It’s amazing how one little letter can change an entire word when you put it at the end. With these four games, your child will get an introduction to the power of the silent e, and become more aware of its presence in words.
Mastery of reading long vowel words probably won’t happen for a while, and that’s okay! Learning doesn’t often happen in one fell swoop. A little bit of learning each day adds up to big gains over time!
You’ll find PDFs for some of these games listed in the materials section. Feel free to download and print for personal use.
1. Turn a Kit Into a Kite
- An index card with a fancy letter e written on it (make it colorful, sparkly, or whatever catches your child’s interest!)
- Turn a Kit into a Kite Cards (cut apart)
How to Play
This game combines some active play with reading.
First, hide the word cards around the house. Ask your child to go find one card and bring it to you.
Have your child read the short vowel word.
Hand your child the special silent e card, and show him how to put it at the end of the word. You can tell your child that this special silent e makes the vowel say its own name.
Read the new word to your child, and have him repeat it.
Have your child go find another word. Continue reading the short and silent e words together until you’ve changed them all.
2. Throw and Read
The Silent E index card (see game 1)
Word Cards (from game 1)
A small piece of foil crumpled into a ball
How to Play
In this game, your child will be tossing a ball of foil onto short vowel words before using the special silent e to change them.
Spread the word cards out face up on the floor.
Have your child try to toss the ball of foil onto a word.
Ask your child to read the word.
Hand your child the special silent e card and ask her to add it at the end. Encourage her to read the new word.
Have your child flip over the word and toss the foil again.
Continue until all word cards are flipped over.
3. Silent E Scavenger Hunt
- Silent E Scavenger Hunt List
- A bag for collecting items
- A pencil
How to Play:
You and your child will work together to read and find items that have the silent e. Can you find them all?
Have your child read the words on the scavenger hunt checklist, using picture clues as needed.
Ask your child if she knows where any of these items are.
Work together to collect each item and place it in your bag.
When an item goes in your bag, have your child check it off the list.
If you can’t find an item, let your child draw a picture of it and put the picture in the bag.
4. Silent E Charades
- Silent E Charade Cards(Cut out)
- A Bowl
How to Play
Players will take turns acting out long e words and trying to guess what the other person’s word is.
Put the cutout word cards in your bowl and give it a good shake.
Ask your child to draw a word and read it quietly. Remind your child that the e is silent and the vowel says its own name.
Ask your child if he knows what the word says. If he doesn’t let him draw a different word and try again. Alternatively, your child can ask another family member for help.
Encourage your child to act out the word while you try to guess what it is.
Continue alternating until the words are all gone.
Is Your Child Ready to Learn About Silent E?
If your young reader can easily read short vowel words, it’s a sign that it’s time to start introducing the long vowels. Silent e is a great place to start because it’s such a common pattern.
Remember to take it slowly and have fun while learning!
These games are from my course, Teaching Reading Through Play. It contains a full year’s worth of lessons to help your kindergartner learn to read. Since I’m a believer in gentle learning and learning through fun activities, that’s what you’ll find!
I’m currently looking for beta testers. If you’re interested in learning more, shoot me an email at lisatannerwriting (at) gmail (dot) com.