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Why don't we use 'magic e' any more?

(115 Posts)
Pozzled Tue 30-Apr-13 19:23:35

And is it a problem if my child is taught in that way? I'm not very impressed (especially when I've already taught her 'split digraph') but want to know if it really matters.

CecilyP Tue 30-Apr-13 21:36:29

^Apologies for a silly question but I'm sure I heard/read somewhere that 'when two vowels go walking, the first does the talking'.

Is this used? Have I dreamt it up? It seems to make sense but not sure if it's considered to be at all useful.^

You have heard it; you didn't dream it, but it is nonsense. Only works 50% of the time so totally useless.

expansivegirth Tue 30-Apr-13 23:29:04

dipthong whatsit phoneme b*llocks.

they're five.

i only learned what a magic e was last week when my kids did it at school

it seems pretty magic to me

i read with five year olds at school - they are applying the rule all over the place.

makes sense to them. works. pretty cool.

Beamur Tue 30-Apr-13 23:32:08

I sang the magic e song to my 6 yr old DD (I too remember Wordy!) recently grin

mrz Wed 01-May-13 06:29:07

the problem with applying rules that don't exist expansivegirth is that you are lost as soon as you hit the majority of words where it doesn't work ... basic words like have, live, love, give, none, more, some ....

Thewhingingdefective Wed 01-May-13 06:37:19

You're not though, mrz. Most children are usually bright enough to understand that there are some ways/rules of helping them read words but that those rules don't always apply. It doesn't mean that they aren't still a useful tool for them.

lougle Wed 01-May-13 07:10:26

So later is /l/ /ai/ /t/ /er/, 5 letters, 4 sounds.

It does seem silly to say that there is a rule about something that has as many exceptions as inclusions.

mrz Wed 01-May-13 07:15:42

How is telling a child a rule that doesn't apply for more than 50% of words a useful tool Thewhingingdefective?

expansivegirth Wed 01-May-13 07:36:12

Maybe not rule, but tool.

perhaps I'm biased as my own kids have not learned to read by rigidly applying rules

Thewhingingdefective Wed 01-May-13 08:55:39

Whatever you call it - rule, tool, trick - it does serve a useful function, although perhaps not for everyone, but then that could be applied to every teaching and learning method.

Periwinkle007 Wed 01-May-13 09:30:52

I think the problem is our language has its roots in so many different languages.

Our language is full of exceptions, we could write as many rules/tools/whatever you want to call them as we would like to but there will always be exceptions, of course you could write something to include each exception as well and just say it only actually applies once or twice in the whole language but I am not sure that gains us anything either.

At the end of the day some things just have to be learned and I think we just have to accept that.

IShallWearMidnight Wed 01-May-13 09:38:42

like "i before e, except after c, except for the ones that don't", then learn a list of the ones that don't. My DC have always enjoyed the fact that "the rules" don't work lots of the time.

YoniOneWayOfLife Wed 01-May-13 09:43:59

If anything doesn't work, it's just tricky - so there's lots of "tricky" Ys but I use magic E rather than tricky E, because a Y is always out to trick you, but the E is helping.

maverick Wed 01-May-13 10:01:34

Explaining Split Vowel Digraphs


maverick Wed 01-May-13 10:05:06

You might also like this:

Spelling Rules

learnandsay Wed 01-May-13 12:01:48

The ontrackreading advice sounds like a really complicated way of doing something simple.

daftdame Wed 01-May-13 12:06:38

mrz & learnandsay - I find apparent anomalies exciting. Then when you find out its not an anomaly and you can refine a rule woo hoo! (I have discovered purest green moment...!)

Startail Wed 01-May-13 12:08:32

Having a dyslexic DD we have pointless 'e'

The one on the end of have, give and seemingly a thousand other words in English that DD2 just knows is there, because (there's another one) she remembers words and DD1 forgets as she has to sound everything out every time.

RodEverson Wed 01-May-13 16:31:21

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

daftdame Wed 01-May-13 16:55:59

What I find interesting is how much of this I must only know subconsciously, as I can read.

I could read on school entry, after being only taught some very rudimentary phonics. I loved books, fairy stories, 'Alice through the looking Glass' and 'Brer Rabbit' were my favourites. The school used mixed methods, flash cards, more rudimentary phonics including 'magic' e (which liked - fairy stories). I refused to read to my reception teacher apparently after I 'forgot' a word (I was scared to death of her after she smacked me). After I left reception I whizzed up the reading scheme.

At university (studying English!) I was pulled up on my spelling. I was lazy and not great at typing or proof reading. I rebelled for a while and told myself spelling was bourgeois blush, I liked reading Chaucer in the middle English version and Shakespeare didn't spell consistently!

I think my spelling improved vastly with the advent of good spell checks - combination of consciously trying to 'beat' the spell check and getting snobby about things like the Oxford 'z'.

Anyway it goes to show not all is lost, much can be recovered, after an initial patchy experience of learning to read.

learnandsay Wed 01-May-13 17:01:43

Tell the child that lots of words end in "e" because of the bias held by Samuel Johnson

You realise that you're dealing with children who don't know what a dictionary is or does, don't know what bias is and won't understand the significance of Dr Johnson. In fact, Dr Johnson's continuing significance is largely not because he compiled his dictionary (which was true at the time) but because in Britain we don't have language regulating institutions in the way that France has the Academie Francaise, or Spain's RAE.

mrz Wed 01-May-13 17:09:33

Unfortunately spell checks are only really useful if you can spell fairly accurately daftdame.

daftdame Wed 01-May-13 17:23:57

mrz - just relaying what happened to me.

I'm flattered you think I could probably spell fairly accurately, not what it felt like after my tutor had a go at me!

Get your point though - it is a matter of scale. Spell checks are a fantastic tool though (I had a mini melt down once when I had to go back to the dictionary!).

mrz Wed 01-May-13 17:31:55

I think you need to have a rough idea of how the word is written for a spell check to be useful and I personally think it has improved my spelling accuracy but I do like the Spell Checker poem

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

daftdame Wed 01-May-13 17:33:50

mrz - grin yes, I've made the odd blooper in my time!

mrz Wed 01-May-13 17:53:28

My ipad and iphone love to change what I type into complete nonsense

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