The Six Silly Syllables: Vowel Buddies


Here is a question that Linda, one of our homeschool moms, sent recently:

“Hi Judy! We are doing the 6 silly syllables! We had a question. The boys could not find a vowel buddy in ‘high’ or ‘light’ as these words are listed on the back as examples. Are we missing something? Thank you!”

It is certainly easy to understand how this term could lead to confusion. It makes sense to think that ‘vowel buddies’ would be two vowels together. But if a consonant sticks with a vowel in a multi-letter phonogram, we call that a vowel buddy as well.

That’s because, together, they still make only one sound. That sound may be either a vowel sound (such as the long a in ‘eigh’) or a vowel-like sound such as /aw/.

Here are the vowel partners:

sail away: ai, ay, eigh, ee, igh, oa, oe

copy cats: au, aw, augh, oi, oy

e partner: ea, ei, ey, ie

stinky: ue, ew, ui

o partner: ow, oo, ou, ough

You can illustrate this several ways:

Beginning with one-word vowel buddy syllables…

First spell out some words with phonogram tiles. Your children will see that the vowel and consonant are ‘buddies’ on the same tile. (If you haven’t already printed out your phonogram tiles, the template is on your Phonograms are Fun to Learn disc.)

Have your children sound out the syllables by touching and moving each tile as they say the sound. They will hear/see/feel that together the vowel and consonant(s) are making only one sound.

Write out syllables for your children. Have them underline the multi-letter vowel buddy phonograms.

Try it with these words. (Also see the Sail Away Word List)

h igh w eigh s l ow

c ow d ow n

b l ew

d r aw d r aw n

Here are some closed syllable examples to further illustrate the difference:

b ow vs b o g

b l ew vs b l e d

d r aw vs d r a g

The important thing to remember is that these letters go together to make one phonogram. That phonogram makes one vowel sound.

Our reading code is logical, predictable, and reliable.

And Wordy Worm® makes it easy and fun.

We welcome your comments and questions. By answering your questions on our blog, we are able to help many parents.

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