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Practice with Vowel and Consonant Letters

1. Here are the letters in the English alphabet:

<\text{\cancel{a}, \ b, \ c, \ d, \ \cancel{e}, \ f, \ g, \ h, \ \cancel{i}, \ j, \ k, \ l, \ m, \ n, \ \cancel{o}, \ p, \ q, \ r, \ s, \ t, \ \cancel{u}, \ v, \ \cancel{w}, \ x, \ \cancel{y}, \ z} >

2. In the alphabet above cross off the four letters that are always vowels. [ That would be <a,e,i,o>. ]

3. Now cross off the three letters that are sometimes vowels and sometimes consonants. [ That would be <u,w,y>].

4. So the nineteen letters that remain are always consonants. Write them in the blanks below:

&<b> && <c> && <d> && <f> &&<g> && <h> && <j> && <k> && <l> && <m>\\&<n> && <p>&& <q> && <r> && <s> && <t> && <v> && <x> && <z>

5. Read these words carefully. Listen and look for the <y>'s, <\mathrm{u}>'s, and <w>'s:

&\text{yours} && \text{wonderful} && \text{women} && \text{below}\\&\text{true} && \text{lunch} && \text{language} && \text{quiet}\\&\text{yellow} && \text{away} && \text{brown} && \text{would}\\&\text{they} && \text{holiday} && \text{year} && \text{penguin}

6. Sort the words into these groups

Words with the consonant ...
<\mathrm{u}> <w> <y>
language wonderful women yours
quiet away would yellow
penguin year

7.

Words with the vowel...
<\mathrm{u}> <w> <y>
yours lunch yellow they
true would brown away
wonderful below holiday

Word Squares. Fit the words into the squares. Count letters very carefully. As you use each word, check it off the list. Hint: Only one word has six letters, so start with it:

Three-letter word: six \surd

Four-letter words: fast \surd , loud \surd , next \surd

Five-letter words: funny \surd , quiet \surd women \surd

Six-letter word: yellow \surd

Teaching Notes.

1. Item 1: Notice that we give only the lowercase versions of the 26 letters. You might want to point out that the uppercase versions are sometimes quite different in shape from their lowercase counterparts. Especially for students who may still be having problems recognizing letters of the alphabet, you might ask them to sort the uppercase and lowercase versions of the 26 letters into the following table:

Lowercase letters are smaller than uppercase letters. Also, sometimes their shapes are very different, sometimes only slightly different, sometimes not different at all. Sort the 26 letters of the alphabet into the following table. There are extra squares, so don't worry when you don't fill them all. We've given you a bit of a start:

Letters in which the shape of the lowercase and uppercase versions are ...
very different slightly different the same except for size
a, A b, B c, C

Be prepared for differences of opinion when the students finish their sorting. It could be worthwhile to spend some time discussing a question like “What does ‘very different' mean as compared with ‘slightly different'?” My personal feeling is that any answer to such a question that a student is capable of articulating is a good answer. Notice that some letters (like <w> and <W>) can be the same shape in print but different in hand printing and cursive. The uppercase and lowercase versions of some (like <j>, <\mathrm{p}>, and <y>) are quite similar in shape but located differently on the baseline. One question this sorting raises is, What constitutes a difference? And one point that it makes is that in answering questions about degrees of difference, we can and do disagree (which is why the table has extra squares).

2. Word Squares are designed to give the students an opportunity to look very closely at words, counting their letters. But they also introduce the students to a potentially sophisticated logic of implication: For instance, if one were to start this puzzle by putting loud into the top row, that would create the need for a five-letter word that starts with <l> for the overlapping lefthand column and a three-letter word that starts with <\mathrm{u}> for the overlapping third column. But there are no words on the list that start with <l> and have five letters, nor are there any that start with <\mathrm{u}>. So the implication is that loud cannot go into the top row. This logic of implication can get very complex in larger Word Squares. The hint to start this particular Squares with the only six-letter word on the list is a powerful hint: In more general terms, (and borrowing from the 17^{\mathrm{th}} century philosopher Rene Descartes) the students should learn to start with what they can be absolutely certain of and then build off of that. In cases where they do not have any singletons of a given length, they should learn to find the word-length that has the fewest instances in the list and to try the words of that length one by one, watching that logic of implication very carefully.

Here is an exercise for additional practice with the vowel-consonant distinction:

More Work with Vowel and Consonant Letters

1. Say each of these words. Listen and look carefully:

&\text{magic} && \text{language} && \text{might} && \text{government}\\&\text{enough} && \text{type} && \text{women} && \text{new}\\&\text{yellow} && \text{away} && \text{your} && \text{why}\\&\text{seventy} && \text{quick} && \text{holiday} && \text{below}

2. Sort the words into these groups. Some words go into more than one group:

Words with the vowel...
<\mathrm{a}> <e> <\mathrm{i}> <o>
Words with the vowel...
<\mathrm{u}> <w> <y>
Words with the constant...
<\mathrm{u}> <w> <y>

More Work with Vowel and Consonant Letters

1. Say each of these words. Listen and look carefully:

&\text{magic} && \text{language} && \text{might} && \text{government}\\&\text{enough} && \text{type} && \text{women} && \text{new}\\&\text{yellow} && \text{away} && \text{your} && \text{why}\\&\text{seventy} && \text{quick} && \text{holiday} && \text{below}

2. Sort the words into these groups. Some words go into more than one group:

Words with the vowel...
<\mathrm{a}> <e> <\mathrm{i}> <o>
magic enough magic enough
language yellow quick yellow
away seventy might women
holiday language holiday your
type holiday
women government
government below
new
below
Words with the vowel...
<\mathrm{u}> <w> <y>
enough yellow seventy holiday
your new type why
below away
Words with the consonant...
<\mathrm{u}> <w> <y>
language away why yellow
quick women your

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1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

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Apr 29, 2014
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