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Can anyone help me with a-e and ai?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by FenellaF, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. FenellaF

    FenellaF New commenter

    Hi, I am a year 3 teacher with limited phonics skills. My bottom group are looking at the ai sound this week. I know that if a word ends in the ai sound then its spelt ay, (apart from crayon - typical!) but is there a spelling rule for whether its a-e or ai? Or do they simply have to learn which word is spelt which way?
    Any help would be very much appreciated.
    Thank you.
  2. Have a look at the Support for Spelling document from the DfES. You can download it and it gives ideas about teaching this in the Year 2 section.
    Going back to your original question - there are several different ways to spell /ai/ and the a-e one is usually found at the end of a word.
  3. This sounds like the group are in Phase 5 of letters and sounds - alternative spellings. Have a look in there for some ideas or as the OP said, Support for Spelling. I'm not aware of a spelling rule for a_e or ai (but that's not to say that there isn't one!), so I teach my chidlren to try both ways and see which one they think looks right - (then check it!)
  4. mprimaryz

    mprimaryz New commenter


    best £10 I ever spent. It follows the letters and sounds scheme of work plus it's got all the plans and resources you'll need. I use it everyday!
  5. It's not that the 'ay' spelling is at the end of words, it's that the 'ai' spelling is not found at the end of words.
    There are many words with the 'ay' spelling alternative in the middle such as 'mayor, mayonnaise, crayon, played, saying, [plural words] trays' and so on.
    Verb endings and plural endings mean that lots of words even that end with 'ay' for the root word or singular word can have suffixes.
    Writing out words with incorrect spelling alternatives for pupils to decide if the word 'looks right' is not a great strategy. This has been shown by research even with adult proficient spellers.
    For beginners or young learners, or children with dyslexic tendencies, they frequently don't have enough word experience to be able to call upon such a strategy as selecting 'which word looks right' - and in any event it can be a bit unwise to provide the visual image of wrong spellings as these themselves can get fixed in the mind or unsettle the mind.

  6. HI there!

    I am a year 4 teacher and have just recently taught ai, ay and a_e together as a session for phonics. What i did was to introduce the topic by giving the children a story which had a variety of these blends in it. We read the story together. Once we read it all i put up a column for ay and one for ai. I then asked the children to look through the story and give me some words which has these blends in them. We said each word together and then the children would tell me which column the word would go into. When we had quite a few in each column, I asked the children if they could see a pattern. They said they could see ay at the end of words and ai in the middle!

    This is when i introduced a_e. I told the children there was another set of words which had the 'a' sound, such as 'came - llane etc They seen this pretty quickly! I also referred to the tricky word of 'they' which has the 'a' sound but this is of course an exception!

    Hope this helps x
  7. http://www.phonicsinternational.com/unit1_pdfs/The%20English%20Alphabetic%20Code%20-%20complete%20picture%20chart.pdf

    A giant version of the chart above can support your teaching of spelling. For example, for the lesson described above which puts spellings into columns, the teacher can also refer to the alphabetic code chart and indicate which spelling alternatives the lesson features, and which spelling alternatives can also spell the sounds.
    Such a chart can also support spelling incidentally any time the children are asked to write. They can identify the sounds all-through-the-word that they want to spell, and if insecure with the spelling they can ask the teacher 'which' spelling alternative they need for the identified sounds. The teacher can say, "This one as in 'ay' for tray'" for example.
  8. have you tried LCP phonic families- it groups the sounds together-eg ai/ay/a-e/ey into families- my children love i.
  9. FenellaF

    FenellaF New commenter

    Thank you so much everyone for your help, it's much appreciated x
  10. Sort of, but it's mainly a case of
    At http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com
    where u can find all common exceptions to English spelling patterns
    I have explained it as follows.
    <u>a-e</u> / ai - (late, lain)
    The main spelling for this sound inside words is a-e (made),
    but before l and n it is more often ai (rail, rain),
    or both (male/mail):
    Ail/ale, bale/bail, male/mail, pale/pail,
    sale/sail, tale/tail, whale/wail,
    dale, female, gale, inhale, scale, stale,
    assail, cocktail, detail, fail, hail, jail, nail, prevail, rail, retail, snail, trail.
    Main/mane, pain/pane, plain/plane,
    rain/reins(reindeer)/reign, vain/vein,
    abstain, again, ascertain, attain, brain, chain, chilblain, complain, contain, detain, drain, explain, gain, grain, obtain, refrain, remain, retain, slain, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, train;
    acquaint, ain&rsquo;t, faint, paint, quaint, saint;
    Crane, lane, sane, membrane.
    Skein; deign, feign; campaign; champagne.
    There are also 55 other unpredictable spellings
    for the a-e/ai sound:
    Made/maid, aid, braid, laid, paid, raid, afraid.
    Brake/break, stake/steak.
    Aim, claim, exclaim, maim, proclaim.
    Place/plaice. Haste, paste, taste, waste/waist;
    Daisy, praise, raise, raisin. Traitor, waiter.
    Ate/eight, bate/bait, grate/great, straight/straits, wait/weight. F&ecirc;te, freight.
    Faith. Halfpenny, neighbour. Able, cable, cradle, fable, gable, ladle, sabre, stable, table &ndash; (cf. label).

    /-ey /-eigh[/b] - (say, they, weigh) - (30 &ndash;ay, 19 others):
    Bay, bray, clay,
    day (Monday &ndash; Sunday, midday, today, yesterday),
    fray, gay, hay, lay, may, okay, pay, play, pray, ray, say, slay, spray, stay, stray, sway, tray;
    array, astray, away, betray, decay, delay, dismay, display.
    They, grey, hey, convey, obey, survey.
    Neigh, sleigh, way/whey/weigh.
    Ballet, beret, bouquet, buffet, duvet, chalet, crochet.
    Caf&eacute;, matin&eacute;e.

  11. There are only 5 root words with ay inside:
    crayfish, crayon, kayak, mayonnaise, mayor Four others are compounds: always, maybe, payment, payroll.
    The rest are all formed by adding suffixes to root words with -ay ending
    e.g. player, played, playing.
  12. Oooh, can I see an attempt at point scoring here?[​IMG]
    Whether or not they are compound or simple, they are still 'words'.
  13. No. I am not like u. I was merely correcting Debbie's mistake.
    Like many phonics teachers, u clearly have no overall grasp of the English spelling system and its irregularities.
    The rules for adding suffixes (play - played, try - tried) are mostly quite regular (apart from exceptions like paid and laid) and pupils in the higher primary years spend much time learning them.
    Unfortunately, 147 of the most common English verbs are irregular in the past tense:
    be - was, go - went...
    some of which have silly spellings as well buy - bought, fly - flew, throw - threw.
    I have been surprised to see how long even bright children take to learn the irregular verbs made worse by their stupid spellings.
    That's one of the biggest messes the 16th C foreign bible printers have left us.
  14. The point I was making is that the child should not be taught to think that 'ay' only comes at the end of a word, or most words, because there are many whole words (whatever type they are) where the grapheme 'ay' is not at the end - and this is very common when taking plural endings and verb endings into account.
    Sometimes children tend to be introduced to words which are too simplistic because they are beginners and because teachers feel that they have to start with only, or mainly, the short CVC type words (with three letters).
    I promote the introduction of a much wider array of words consisting of the letter/s-sound correspondences introduced to date. This can avoid the misconception, for example, that 'ay' always comes at the end of the word.
    Spellings in the English language are not 'silly', they are historic and the sound/letter/s connections are complex.
    As I have said over and again, mashabell, can you not focus on grouping your word lists showing sensible groupings instead of providing word lists showing words with pronunciation and spelling alternatives all jumbled up?
    Maybe this would help you to make sense of our spelling system.
  15. Even your course advocates starting with those. Some even include nonsense words, because too many ordinary English words have stupid spellings (said, any, many).
    Being historic does not prevent anything from being silly. Hundreds of English words have extremely silly spellings (friend, mother, one, only, once...) I wonder how much u really know about the history of English spelling? I have been researching it on and off for at least 10 years now.
    The Learning to Read lists at www.Englishspellingproblems.co.uk give u words which use the main English spelling patterns.
    The Sight Words page has those with different sounds for identical letters.
    http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2010/11/english-spelling-rules.html now lists all the words with irregular spellings for each spelling pattern from A - Z.
    How else should I do it?
    As I am doing for an ESL version of my last book? For example,
    (I'll try to paste in, but it is bound to end up messed up)
    , has, hat,
    jam, varies: With the /e/ sound of &lsquo;men&rsquo;: any, many [enny, menny].
    the following also have the ah sound: Advanced, after, ah, ask, banana, bath, blast, branch, brass, calf[cahf], calm[cahm], castle[cahsl], chance, chant, class, craft, daft, dance, disaster, draft, fast, fasten, father, flabbergast, flask, gasp, ghastly, giraffe, glance, glass, graft, graph, grasp, grass, half[hahf], last, mask, mast, palm[pahm], panorama, pass, past, path, plant, pyjamas, raft, rascal, rather, salami, shaft, shah, staff, task, trance, vase, vast. Perhaps UK teachers could do with something like that too?

  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    They have "ay" in the word but "kayak" and "mayor " don't contain the /ay/ phoneme

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