Understanding Silent E Words When It Comes To Teaching

There are a lot of different rules to keep in mind when it comes to reading. Thus, if you are teaching children how to read, they won’t know some of the simple rules that you become accustomed to.

Understanding Silent E Words When It Comes To Teaching

The main one that even adults will still get confused with are silent ‘e’ words. There are a lot of different words out there that are spelt in a way that you wouldn’t expect.

In this instance, we are talking about the addition of the letter ‘e’, which is silent. Thus, when you are teaching anyone how to read silent letters, it can be quite confusing. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about teaching silent ‘e’ words.

What Are VCe Words?

Vowel-Consonant-e words, otherwise known as VCe words, have a particular pattern at the conclusion of the word. They are additionally referred to as bossy e, bossy e, or magic e.

They have lengthy vowel sounds, which pupils should learn to identify as coming from the letter ‘e’. In order to practice identifying and marking VCe words or matching them, students should practice actively identifying patterns in these words.

Introducing Silent E Words

When your children have a firm understanding of CVC words as well as short vowels, then they are prepared to study long vowels. There are a lot of different ways to introduce silent ‘e’ words with your class.

In fact, there is a story that some teachers tell their class as a fun way to mention VCe words. This is known as the Magic E story.

The general idea is that the magic ‘e’ has unique abilities and that, before saying its name, it leaps over the consonant to assist the vowel. This is a simple concept that a lot of children accept, as it explains why you don’t always sound out the letter ‘e’.

However, your students should also be made aware that magic ‘e’ can only hop over one consonant. This is since there are two consonants between the initial vowel and the ‘e’ in a word like edge.

In this case, they will be aware not to employ the magic ‘e’ rule. To further explain VCe words, you can suggest the word ‘like’ This is a common word that everyone uses on a day-to-day basis.

By sounding out this word and even tapping as you say each sound, this will demonstrate that the letter ‘e’ cannot be heard.

Spot And Dot

When it comes to teaching your students, VCe words, you should consider using the spot and dot technique. This is a simple task that asks your students to place a dot above each vowel they encounter in a word.

Then underneath the word, they can write the letters V or C below each vowel or consonant. By doing this, it helps students to visually see the VCe pattern. There are many words you could use, but cake is a perfect example.

One Letter At A Time

Understanding Silent E Words When It Comes To Teaching

This is primarily for readers who have trouble because it always helps them to concentrate on one sound at a time. Words like lake, ape, and ate are good places to start. From there, add the remaining vowels one at a time.

This will help those struggling to understand VCe words. It is best to start off slowly and build up by one letter at a time. This is so your students aren’t overwhelmed and understand fully how these words work.

Silent E Words

There are various silent e words that you need to introduce to your class. It is worth mentioning that there are lots of printable silent ‘e’ worksheets out there that you utilize.

These are huge banks full of silent ‘e’ words that you may wish to use with your class. The different types of VCe words to be aware of includes:

  • A-e words – This includes words like lake, ate, brave, save, and made.
  • E-e words – These words include these, eve, Pete, and theme. 
  • I-e words – Words to consider are time, slice, white, ride, and bike. 
  • O-e words – This can include words such as bone, globe, vote, rope, and phone.
  • U-e words – You may wish to use words like flute, cute, cube, plume, and mute.

Silent E Word Activities

To help get your students’ heads around silent ‘e’ words, there are different activities you could try. Below are our favorite activities you could try with your class.

Blending Drills

When you are completing your usual blending drills, you may wish to alter a normal CVC word to a CVCe or CVe word. This is a great way to see if your class can read this new word now that it has been altered slightly.

For example, you may ask a student to sound out the word ‘at’, which would be a-t. Then you could write a letter ‘e’ at the end. Then ask the same pupil to sound that word out again. This is a good test on how to handle silent ‘e’ words.

Marking VCe Words

A great activity is to get your students to physically mark VCe words themselves. This allows them to visually see and understand how this type of word works. For example, you may give your students the word, make. Your students should then do the following:

  • Using another color, they should mark the vowels found in that word, which would be a and e.
  • Students should then place a straight line above the long sounding vowel, which in this case is the letter, a.
  • Finally, a diagonal line should be put through the letter, e, at the end. This is to signify that you won’t be sounding it out.

Then at the end, you should ask your students to read this word out loud. As you can see, this activity allows your students to fully understand how each letter works and how the final word will sound.


Silent ‘e’ words can be quite confusing to understand at first. Yet, when you are introducing these words to your students, you must take your time. This is so they understand how VCe words work.

We hope you have found this article helpful. We have provided you with a couple of ways in which you can introduce silent ‘e’ words to your class and possible activities you could complete with them as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is It Important To Teach Silent E?

A silent ‘e’ can alter the pronunciation of both consonants and preceding vowels. Additionally, words with a silent ‘e’ are less likely to finish in ‘u’ or ‘v’ sound. As a result, it is vital that you teach your students the rules surrounding silent ’e’.

What Are The Most Common Silent E Words?

There are lots of silent ‘e’ words to choose from. However, some of the more common silent ‘e’ words to introduce to your class could be like, rose, time, line, date, fine and large.

There are lots of silent ‘e’ word banks out there that you can look through for more silent ‘e’ words.

How Do You Teach Silent E To Struggling Readers?

For any struggling readers, it is important to keep things as simple as possible. Therefore, using contrasting CVC and CVCE words is really helpful.

This method stresses that the letter e is quiet and helps children hear how the vowel transitions from short to long.

Therefore, when you change a CVC to a CVe word, you should make your class write this new word out, so they can physically see how it has changed.

Suzy Anderson
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