Magic e

Contributor: Melissa LaRusso. Lesson ID: 11978

Do you care about a car? Do you wear a cap and a cape? How would you rate a rat as a pet? Do you see a pattern in these words? The Magic e changes the way a vowel sounds in words, so learn its tricks!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Why is the "Magic e" so magical? It's just a llittle letter, right?

Read this word: hop

  • What vowel sound do you hear in the middle of the word, "hop"?

Now add an "e" to the end of the word: hope

  • What vowel sound do you hear in the middle of "hope"?

When you add an "e" to the end of a syllable, like you did with the word, "hope," the vowel sound changes from a short vowel sound to a long vowel sound. The letter, "e," is the busiest letter in the alphabet. "E" is often used to help in a word, but it acts as a silent letter in the word or syllable with a vowel-consonant-e.

Read the following words with a short vowel. Then add the silent "e" to make the vowel change to a long vowel sound:

  • cap / cape
  • cut / cute
  • kit / kite
  • rid /r ide
  • fin / fine

The vowel pattern u-consonant-e makes two sounds. It can make a /u/ sound saying the letter name, and it can make an /oo/ sound. Read the following words to decide which vowel sound you hear:

  • flute
  • rule
  • mule
  • Luke
  • fuse

"Flute," "rule," and "Luke" have the /oo/ sound in the middle of the word.
"Mule" and "fuse" have the long /u/ sound.

Write down three words that use the magic e from the following video, James Iglehart - "Silent 'e'" Music Video (The Electric Company):


Share your findings with your parent or teacher.

The letter, "s," can make a /z/ sound when it used between a vowel-consonant-e. Read the following words aloud:

  • rose
  • nose
  • fuse
  • close
  • chose

Notice that in all the above words, the "s" makes a /z/ sound.
Tell your parent or teacher another word that follows this pattern.

The vowel-consonant-e syllable can also be combined with other syllable types to create a multisyllabic word. Read the following examples:

  • mistake
  • dispute
  • compare
  • inside

Think of five words that have a vowel-consonant-e pattern that is not listed above. Write the words on a piece of paper, then share them with your parent or teacher.

When you have completed this activity, move to the Got It? section to practice reading words with the magic e in some online games.

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