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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Anyway, I know that the term magic e is now outdated.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?

nickeldaisical Sat 06-Oct-12 15:11:22

mrz - that's part of the magic! grin

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 15:11:35

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!
in have?

it makes an i' sound like an eye - magic
in give?

it makes an o' sound like an ohhh - genius!
in some?

nickeldaisical Sat 06-Oct-12 15:12:13

Euphemia - that makes no sense at all!
the name of I is pronounced Eye, so Like is pronounced L-eye-k

nickeldaisical Sat 06-Oct-12 15:12:31

x-posts mrz wink

CecilyP Sat 06-Oct-12 15:23:08

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

I know, they will be telling us there's no tooth fairy next! Come to think of it, I had never heard the term till I was an adult, but was taught the concept. Of course it doesn't work for all words, it's English we are talking about.

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 15:26:38

Many of my class say laik for like and try to spell it that way

Elibean Sat 06-Oct-12 15:49:14

dd1 had magic 'e's, dd2 hasn't.

Admittedly, they live in SW London and no accent affecting the outcome, but have to say they have both learned to read at pretty much the same pace and with the same ease/occasional difficulties.

They both seemed to accept that rules have exceptions, and in their case I honestly don't think it matters much whether they are taught with or without magic.

That said, dd2 has a friend who finds 'rule breaking' words far harder to tolerate - they annoy him intensely - and apparently many of his 5 year old friends feel the same.

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 15:52:39

The "i" in "like" in my accent does not sound the same as "I" as in the first person pronoun or the name of the letter i.

So for the words like some, where the magic e does not apply, presumably that isn't a split digraph either? What would it be?

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 16:09:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 16:10:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nickeldaisical Sat 06-Oct-12 16:42:43

Euph - i se. it does depend on accents a lot - they have to teach based on accent, so.
(same as the a in grass wher i come from isn't the same as the a where i live now)

EnjoyGOLDResponsibly Sat 06-Oct-12 16:50:10

The parents in Dss class were edumacated on this last week, but our school uses smiley e now I.e.

The word is LAKE, if you sounded it out you'd get LE AH CK

But if you can draw a smile under the word linking the A and the E, the A stops sounding like soft AH and becomes hard A, so LE A CK

The same applies for all vowels where there's a silent E in the end.

Does that help?

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 16:53:08

arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh! all letters are silent

CecilyP Sat 06-Oct-12 18:36:45

Sorry, EnjoyGold, but that sounds like the most convoluted explanation ever.

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 18:40:33

There are hard vowels now? confused

Elibean Sat 06-Oct-12 19:37:04

Soft, silent, magic letters. Love it grin

flussymummy Sat 06-Oct-12 19:47:05

For what it's worth... I really don't understand why on earth little children are ever taught phrases such as "split digraph" at the point where they are learning to read. Surely it's better to make it accessible with phrases such as "magic e" even if it isn't always the case. I found a workbook this week which was attempting to explain "cardinal numbers" and "ordinal numbers" to five year olds. Surely these are phrases for educators and parents to use but not to pass on? There are plenty more useful and interesting things for little people to know about.

zebedeee Sat 06-Oct-12 20:00:22

Red words, green words, tricky words, words with tricky parts, words that will be taught later...

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 20:09:08

flusstmummy they don't need to be taught any of those phrases ... a simple "this is how we write the sound * in this word" ...
split digraph is technically correct but unnecessary and magic e is cute but inaccurate.
I find the red/green/tricky words equally unnecessary ... "this word has a way of writing the sound * we haven't learnt yet ..."

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 20:11:04

flussy blush sorry for my fat fingers

Rosebud05 Sat 06-Oct-12 20:20:34

My dd calls it a 'split e' - her school have been using Letters and Sounds.

Viviennemary Sat 06-Oct-12 20:25:47

I wish they would go back to simple stuff. Even I remember from school. Mat add e and you get mate. Fat add e and you get fate, Of course it doesn't always.

Euphemia Sat 06-Oct-12 20:26:56

Of course it doesn't always.

So it wasn't simple then? grin

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 20:38:26

Letters and Sounds refers to it as a "split vowel digraph" hmm

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