Noah Webster and educators of the past knew that the best way to learn and practice English letter sounds (phonics) was to do so in syllables. A syllable is simply a set of letters, or word chunk, set apart by a single vowel sound. So if you take any longer word, and slowly enunciate the word, you will notice the syllables by how many distinct vowel sounds there are. For example, the word "Dinosaur" has three syllables, which when split up by distinct vowel sounds would be pronounced: "Di-no-saur." Learning phonics in the context of syllables is key because:
When a learner blends vowel and consonant sounds, syllable by syllable, it helps him or her to hear the distinct consonant sounds. If we learn consonant sounds in isolation, we often make the mistake of adding extra vowel sounds at the end.
Knowledge of syllables is critical for reading and pronunciation of new words that the learner has never encountered before.
In this and the following few lessons we will start with long vowel sounds. In this lesson we will learn 3 important principles of English pronunciation.
#1- when a stressed syllable ends in a vowel (a,e,i,o, or u), it makes a longer sound. An example is "ba" from the first syllable of the word "ba-ker."
#2- When the letter 'c' is followed by an 'e,' 'i,' or 'y,' then it will make a soft 's' sound.
#3- The letter 'g' will sometimes sound like a soft 'j' sound when followed by an 'e,' 'i,' or 'y.' (Similar principle to the letter 'c')
So as a hint, the 2nd column below will be pronounced as such, 'bee,' 'see,' 'dee,' 'fee,' 'gee' and 'jee' when reading down the column.
For now, let's practice reading these syllables with the long vowel sound, going down each column, before moving to the column on the right- First read all the 'a' syllables, then the 'e' syllables, and so on.
(* Reminder: The gray font syllables are pronounced with a softer sound, so 'ce' will be pronounced like the word 'see.' Syllables like 'ge' will have two different pronunciations, practice both. The syllable 'do' should be pronounced with a long 'o,' and sound like the word 'doe.' In these lessons we are practicing pronunciation for syllables, and not words. That is coming soon!)
Wonderful job! Please go to the next phonics lesson.