What is it?
The VCE syllable type or the Magic e syllable type is a syllable where the first vowel is long and the final vowel, the e, is silent.
How do I teach it?
As I prepare to teach this syllable type to my students, I want to make sure they have a clear understanding of the short vowel sounds and the long vowel sounds. This flexibility of being able to go back and forth between the two sounds is important with the VCE syllable type. This work can be done in our Sound Drill when we review the vowels.
Then, I guide students in using letter tiles or markers and a whiteboard to build a closed syllable word such as the word van. Remember, closed syllables always have one vowel that is trapped or closed in by a consonant so it can only say it’s short sound.
If we add an E to the end of this closed syllable word, van, the E can jump over the consonant and make the vowel say its name or long sound and the E says nothing – the word van becomes vane. So, even though there are two vowels, we only hear one vowel sound. We call the E magic because of the way it jumps over the consonant and makes the vowel say its name.
Next, through guided practice, we mark this syllable type. When we mark a magic e, we start by having the e jump over one consonant, this looks like an arc. We code the vowel with a straight line or macron since the vowel is saying its name. We cross out the e since it is silent. We spend time marking and reading these words with support.
If the student is showing evidence of proficiency with marking the words and reading them, we progress to asking the student to read closed syllable words as they are, and then read them after we have added an e to the end. We guide the students in noticing that the magic e on the end changes that vowel sound from a short sound (as it was in the closed syllable) to the long sound now that the magic e is in place.
After this, we spend time sorting words, marking words, and using other multi-sensory activities to cement this syllable type. Some of our favorite games to use for this VCE syllable type instruction are: VCE game, Syllable Sorts Game, Reptile Strike which are available to our Membership Site subscribers and on TPT.
If you are interested in learning more about teaching literacy using syllable types consider joining our Delivering SMARTER Intervention course.