Learning vowels can be very challenging for our young readers and writers because they make different sounds in different words. Vowels can either make a short sound such as the /a/ sound in the word “cap” or a long sound, such as the /a/ in the word “lake”. When reading, children must decide whether the vowel in the word makes its short or long sound. There are several ways to make a long vowel sound in words. One way is to add the Magic e at the end of a word. The Magic e usually changes the short vowel sound into a long vowel sound. Teaching children this rule helps them to determine which sound the vowel will make.
A simple explanation of the Magic e rule is “An ‘e’ close behind another vowel (with no more than one letter in between) usually makes the first vowel say its name, and the ‘e’ is usually silent.” Using a story to teach this rule is often helpful. Here is the story that we often use with our students:
Magic e has magic powers! He flies over the consonant and when he comes to the first vowel, he taps the vowel on the head with his magic wand and shouts, “vowel, say your name! Make the sound you say in the alphabet!” Now, Magic e is so tired. He flies back to his spot. He has no more energy so he goes to sleep without saying a sound.
We typically teach the magic e rule in the middle of first grade. Teaching the rule is actually a lot of fun. You can have your students make their very own Magic e wands and act out the story. Below are a few activities that can be used when teaching the Magic e rule in your small group instruction or within your literacy centers.
The Clip The Magic e is one of my favorite activities to use when beginning to teach the Magic e rule. It is available on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store for $2. There are 12 cards with picture cues and 13 cards without picture cues. Click HERE to download this activity.
Click the following link to download the FREE Magic e 4-In-A-Row template. This template addresses the long a vowel sound. Magic e 4 In A Row Activity
A board game is always a popular activity with the kiddos. Click HERE to download 4 FREE Magic e Game Boards.
The Magic e Activity Pack contains 10 hands on activities designed to teach the Magic e rule. The Activity Pack includes step-by-step directions for teaching the rule as well as a teaching manual with directions for each activity. The Magic e Activity Pack is available on TpT for $8 (119 pages!). Click HERE to check out the activities.