In a nutshell
The letter e is the king! In English (and indeed in many languages), ‘e’ is used more than any other letter. In fact, about one out of every eight letters used in English is an ‘e’.
If your child is comfortable sounding out simple words, the ‘super e’ worksheet might make a logical next step.
This worksheet introduces children to one of the most important concepts in English – that when a vowel is followed by a consonant and then an ‘e’, the vowel takes the long form in pronunciation and the ‘e’ is silent.
If this sounds confusing, think of how the addition of ‘e’ changes the pronunciation in these word pairs: ‘hat & hate’, ‘pin & pine’ and ‘hop & hope’.
One way of introducing this concept is to say that the ‘e’ ‘makes the vowel say its own name’. Here is an excellent YouTube video which explains this rule in a fun song.
‘E’ itself is often pronounced with a long sound. This usually occurs when there is an ‘ee’ or ‘ea’ letter pairing (for example ‘street’ and ‘meat’). We have a worksheet below for each of these letter pairings and you may also find these songs handy.
This song provides a nice introduction to the ‘ee’ sound:
And this YouTube clip introduces the rule that when two vowels appear next to each other, it is the sound of the first vowel which is said. ‘Ea’ is an example of this rule and this song features some ‘ea’ words (along with some ‘oa’ and ‘ai’ words):
What is unusual about this passage?
This passage may seem normal but there is actually something a bit strange about. If your child is a bit older, see if they can work it out. What about you? The answer is at the bottom of the page.
This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out.
If English is your second language
Many words in English end in ‘ed’. Children whose first language is English naturally know how to pronounce these words but for those who are learning English it can present a few challenges. This podcast sets out a few simple rules and should be quite useful for you.
‘I Spy’ words
‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…’ is a great game to play to reinforce the sound that a letter makes and it can be a fun game to kill some time – for example on a long car trip. Here is a selection of short words starting with ‘e’ for you to use:
ear, egg, elk, eye, eel, elm, eves, exit, eagle, earth, end, elbow
This letter e worksheet gives your child lots of opportunities to practice writing capital E.
This letter e worksheet focuses on the lower case letter e.
This letter e worksheet gives your child an introduction to the basic sound that ‘e’ makes, and also allows them to practice writing the capital and lower case letter e.
This is a common sound in English. By learning that ‘ee’ usually makes a long ‘e’ sound (for example, ‘meet’, ‘green’ and ‘feed’), your child will take another small but important step in increasing their reading vocabulary.
The ‘ea’ sound usually also results in a long ‘e’ sound, (for example, ‘team’, ‘leave’ and ‘meat’), and this worksheet introduces this concept. As is often the case, there are exceptions to this rule (for example, ‘head’, ‘wealth’ and ‘dead’), so it is important your child regularly practices reading so that the exceptions become second nature to them.
As described above, this is one of the most important concepts for a new reader to learn.
Answer to puzzle
The paragraph does not contain the letter e!
Depending on the level your child is writing at, see if they can construct a sentence without using an ‘e’. It is actually very hard to do – and is a good challenge in thinking up alternative ways of saying things.
Once you’ve had a go at it, you and your child will appreciate what an incredible effort Ernest Vincent Wright made. He tied down the letter e on his typewriter to prevent it from being used and in 1939 published an entire book of over 50,000 words in length (entitled Gadsby) in which ‘e’ never appeared.
To Mr Wright we say: “Congratulations sir! Your book is an inspiration to us all. You would no doubt think our own try not much good!”