“Y” The Sometimes Vowel

Contributor: Melissa LaRusso. Lesson ID: 12154

Why do we need to study the letter "y"? Why, he needs to know just who he is! Is he a happy vowel or a shy consonant? You'll get some fun practice and learn some songs about what Mr. Y sounds like!


Grammar, Phonics

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Is the letter "y" a vowel or a consonant?
  • Can you help him figure it out?

The letter "y" is a both a consonant and a vowel!

To learn more about y as a consonant, visit the Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

The letter "y" when used as a vowel can make an /i/ sound or an /e/ sound. You will watch two videos to explore words with the /i/ sound and the /e/ sound. As you watch the videos, write down two words from each video and share them with your parent or teacher. Pause the videos as often as you need to in order to write down the words.

First, watch the FirstStepReading.com video clip, Beginning Reader Grammar Phonics Lesson, Y as I Sound, Irregular Y Ending Sound to see how y is used to make an /i/ sound:

  • Did you notice that all the words in this video have one syllable?

Ask you parent or teacher to help you clap the syllables for the words you wrote down. If you clapped once for the word, that is a one-syllable word. Now, watch FirstStepReading's Beginning Reader Grammar Phonics Lesson, Y as E Sound, Irregular Y Ending clip to learn about the other sound the y makes:

  • Did you notice all of the words in this video had more than one syllable

Ask your parent or teacher to help you clap the syllables for the words you wrote down from the second video. When y is used at the end of a word with more than one syllable, it usually makes an /e/ sound.

  • Can you think of a word that was not in the video that ends with an /e/ sound or an /i/ sound?
  • Is this sound spelled with the letter "y"?

Move to the Got It? section to explore more words that have a y used as a vowel.

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