Does anyone know the 'proper' way to explain 'magic e' in phonics?

(118 Posts)
owlelf Sat 06-Oct-12 10:46:44

DS is in Y1. His School have adopted Read write inc this year (previously Jolly Phonics).

He has guided reaching once a week, and daily WRI sessions, but he doesn't read one to one with a teacher.

Apparently as he is doing well he doesn't get any one to one reading. I feel that this puts added pressure on me to guide him properly at home. I'm very happy to read with him each night, and we both really enjoy bedtime stories. But I do feel pressure to make sure I explain things to him in a way that is consistent with what he is taught in school- otherwise I will confuse him.

Anyway, I know that the term magic e is now outdated. He does struggle over the concept of an 'e' changing a letter sound to a letter name- and I'm not sure if there is a clever way to explain it? I would live to know how this is covered in the read write inc program.

Can anyone help?

emsyj Sat 06-Oct-12 10:51:47

No I don't, but you can find the cartoon of 'magic magic e' from that old TV show if you look for 'magic e' on YouTube. Even if it doesn't help your DS (which it might do or might not), it's nostalgic fun to watch!

Doraemon Sat 06-Oct-12 10:55:00

Our school user the term 'split digraph'. Eg in cake the a and e together make the split digraph.

crazygracieuk Sat 06-Oct-12 10:55:56

The phonic sounds you need are a_e i_e o_e
There is an Alpha blocks episode that explains split digraphs. I can't link right now as I'm on a phone but check iplayer or YouTube and you should be able to find it.

I have no idea but ds regularly exclaims "ahh it's A split E!" when trying to work out spellings so I presume that is how school refer to it.

maillotjaune Sat 06-Oct-12 11:02:02

I didn't realise the magic e is outdated - was used in Y3 2 years ago for DS1.

He learned that the e is magic because it changes the short 'a' in man to the long 'a' (ay sound) in mane etc.

If you remind him of the idea the first few times is that enough of an explanation?

finefatmama Sat 06-Oct-12 13:06:02

a couple of alpha blocks videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAwShfLmqV0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XESfR-qtXIg

washngo Sat 06-Oct-12 13:10:57

They will most probably be using the term 'split digraph' in class. I know when I used to teach y2 they all came from y1 already knowing what a split digraph was.

jigglybottom Sat 06-Oct-12 13:32:20

First of all I had to re-teach my Ds the little alphabet (we made the mistake of teaching him the alphabet before he started school, caused all sorts of problems when he started reading blush )I told my son it was a magic e because that was the way I was taught but I believe it is called the silent e now (ort-jolly phonics being used in Ds's school), I just reminded Ds if a word doesn't sound right when he sounds it out take a look at what he can change and since then he automaticaly uses the silent e so the other letter turns into the big alphabet (a = aye). This probably sounds quite confusing but it worked for Ds.

CecilyP Sat 06-Oct-12 13:34:23

There is nothing particularly wrong with the term 'magic e', even though the purists will insist it doesn't perform any magic.

However it is more than a matter of a change in terminology; the 'magic e' approach is different to the split digraph approach. With 'magic e', the 'e' at the end of a word makes the previous vowel say its name, (eg changes hop to hope) so should be easy enough if he knows the names of the vowels.

With the split diagraph, the vowel sounds are already spelt ae ee ie oe and ue and they are split by putting a consenant between them (eg changing hoe to hope by splitting the 'o' and 'e' with a 'p').

I don't know how it is covered in RWI but it is understandable that your DS could be confused if you are using a different approach to school. It would make sense to ask them and ask them for their advice.

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 13:40:48

Not only does it not perform magic it doesn't apply in lots of common words - some- come- love- have . We refer to it as a "split spelling"

Badvoc Sat 06-Oct-12 13:49:57

I like the song about magic e in Alphablocks smile

cantmakecarrotcake Sat 06-Oct-12 13:51:11

OMG! Split whats???

I had no idea all this existed! DD is nearly 2 and her schooling is a while away yet and mine is a loooong time ago (and was nothing like this). I will be on as steep a learning curve as she'll be.

Badvoc Sat 06-Oct-12 13:55:16

Well, a graph is a single letter.
A digraph is 2 letters.
A split digraph is eg: o-a as in boat.
At least I think that's what they mean!
Ds2 loves Alphablocks and its really helped him learn his letter sounds.

Badvoc Sat 06-Oct-12 13:55:51

....and then there are graphemes and phonemes!!

cantmakecarrotcake Sat 06-Oct-12 13:57:51

Good grief, it's a whole new language! grin

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 14:02:49

Which you really don't need to know if the school is sensible (it's technical language that's all)
graphemes are how we spell the sound (phonemes)they can be one. two, three or four letters
just think spelling and sound

SaurenLaurensonsMum Sat 06-Oct-12 14:07:33

I never knew any of this.blush

I found diphthongs and monophtongs as well.

CecilyP Sat 06-Oct-12 14:08:19

A split digraph is eg: o-a as in boat.

No that's just a digraph, it isn't split.

Don't worry, carrotcake, millions of people, including you, have learned to read and write without learning all this technical terminology.

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 14:13:17

dipthongs and monophtong aren't phonics and you definitely don't need to know about them.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 06-Oct-12 14:20:36

The way I explain it is that the Magic E makes the vowel say its name, not its sound. So, for example, the Magic E changes the Ah to Ay, like in mad and made.

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 14:26:28

So how do you explain come, some, give, have, love ...Dione?

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 14:47:56

I never liked the idea of so-called magic e making the letter say its name, as it doesn't work for "i" in my accent. "Like", for example, does not sound like l ai k.I always found myself putting on an English accent when saying words like that! grin

(Similarly, when I'm reading The Smartest Giant in Town aloud I have to do strange things with the vowels in "dog" and "bog" to make them rhyme, as for me the former is longer!)

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 15:04:49

That was a phonemic transcription of /ai/, by the way i.e. the diphthong not the Jolly Phonics ai!

nickeldaisical Sat 06-Oct-12 15:09:10

how can anyone say the magic e doesn't perform magic?

it makes an a sound like an ay - bloody genius and magical if you ask me!
it makes an i' sound like an eye - magic
it makes an o' sound like an ohhh - genius!

<grumblegrumble>

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