In a nutshell
‘Y’ is officially classed as a consonant – and acts as a consonant whenever it is pronounced with a ‘y is for yellow’ sound. However, it also acts as a vowel – for example in the word ‘baby’ it has a long ‘e’ sound, and in ‘my’ it has a long ‘i’ sound.
Letter y song
This is an excellent letter y song from Sesame Street with simple, cute graphics.
If your child is a little bit older, or if they are particularly advanced, see if they can work out what this means:
(See below for the answer).
Children (and some adults) can struggle when forming plurals of words ending in ‘y’. Here are two simple rules which should help:
– If the second last letter is a consonant then ‘y’ becomes ‘ies’. So, it is ‘two countries’ and not ‘two countrys’ because ‘r’, a consonant, is the second last letter in ‘country’
– If the second last letter is a vowel then you simply add an ‘s’ to form the plural – for example the plural of ‘monkey’ is ‘monkeys’, because ‘e’, a vowel, is the second last letter of ‘monkey’
Above all, do not use an apostrophe! Few things look worse than when an otherwise good piece of writing is marred with something like, ‘There are several different country’s in which monkey’s live’!
Are there any words in English that contain ‘yy’?
Most people will think about this and say ‘no’, but there is actually one: ‘sayyid’ – a term meaning ‘chief’ or ‘sir’ in the Muslim world.
Here are a couple of short tongue twisters featuring ‘y’. See whether you or your child is the first to say each one five times quickly without slipping up!
Yellow leather, yellow feather
Yell for yellow yo-yos
‘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 ‘y’ for you use:
yacht, yellow, yolk, yard, yogurt, yo-yo, yarn, yam.
The Letter Y Worksheets
This letter y worksheet gives your child lots of opportunities to practice writing capital Y.
This letter y worksheet focuses on the lower case letter y.
This worksheet gives your child an introduction to the basic sound that ‘y’ makes, and also allows them to practice writing the capital and lower case letter y.
This worksheet provides a further opportunity for your child to become familiar with the letter y sound.
Especially at the end of a word, ‘y’ often makes a long ‘e’ sound – such as in ‘story’ and ‘lady’ – and this worksheet features six of these words.
Less commonly, ‘y’ can make a long ‘i’ sound. Although relatively few words contain a ‘y’ with this sound, the words that do are simple ones that children encounter early in their reading development, such as ‘my’ and ‘try’.