Kindergarten Worksheets > Reading Skills > Silent e
The letter e is often challenging for young children to master, since it can make a short sound (as in the word set), a long sound (as in the word meet), or it can be silent (as in the word note). An essential rule in beginning phonics programs is that when the letter e appears at the end of a word, it is silent and the preceding vowel makes its long sound. The following worksheets will challenge your child to identify which words require a silent e at the end and to read words both with and without the silent e to learn how a silent e changes the pronunciation and meaning of the word.
The importance of teaching children about the silent e
The term “silent e” refers to the letter e when it appears at the end of a word. In these cases, the letter e does not make its own sound and it changes the sound of the preceding vowel in the word from its short sound (as with the letter o in the word not) to its long sound (as with the letter o in the word note). Once children understand the role of the silent e, they will expand the number of words they can easily sound out and read.
Tips for using the silent e worksheets
The first set of worksheets is an ideal way to teach the concept of the silent e. Each worksheet focuses on the change that one vowel makes to help your child grasp this concept. The four worksheets introduce the silent e with the vowels a, i, o, and u. The vowel e in the middle position is not shown on these worksheets because the letter e almost always makes its longs sound when paired with another vowel in the middle of the word and not when another e is silent at the end. (Consider the words bead and meet; they are not spelled bede or mete.)
Before showing your child the worksheets, review with him the long and short sounds of the vowels. When your child seems comfortable saying words with the long and short vowel sounds, introduce the first group of silent e worksheets. Explain that he will learn a fun way to change words by adding a silent e to the end of the word. Be sure to ask your child to read each word twice, once with the short vowel sound and the second time with the silent e added for the long vowel sound.
The second set of silent e worksheets gives children the chance to add the silent e to a word that they recognize as having the long vowel sound. Ask your child to look at each picture and say its name. When he recognizes the long vowel sound in the word, instruct him to paste the appropriately colored letter e in the blank square at the end of the word. For added practice, ask your child to look at each picture and read the word both ways - without the silent e and then with the silent e. This can be a fun way to practice reading, since some of the words he reads will be nonsense words (such as hos or cak).
Extra activities to supplement the silent e worksheets
- Cut out pictures from a magazine with different vowel sounds, such as hat, cape, and dog. Ask your child to divide pictures into two groups: long vowel sounds and short vowel sounds.
- Write out the chorus to “Old McDonald Had A Farm” and challenge your child to read it using the standard long vowel sounds (E, I, E, I, O) and then read it again using the short vowel sounds.
- Ask your child to look for words in a magazine that have a silent e. Cut them out and let your child paste them on a piece of construction paper. Title the paper “Shh... Silent E Words!”
- Read the book I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont and ask your child to spot and read the word “like” each time he sees it, reminding him that the e in like is silent.
- Say aloud a word with a short vowel sound and asking your child to change the word by adding a silent e to the end. For example, say “hot” and have your child change it to “hote.” Nonsense words count too!
- Write some short words on a piece of paper, some with the silent e at the end and some with an e in the middle. Challenge your child to read each word then circle the ones where the e is silent.
- Give your child bathtub crayons to write words with a silent e. After he reads the word, he can “erase” the silent e with soapy water and try reading the word again.
- Read the book Jake Bakes Cakes by Gerald Hawksley and ask your child to find the words that have a silent e. Jake, bake, and cake all have a silent e, so he’ll be sure to spot a lot.