Why we shouldn’t call it a bossy “e”

//Why we shouldn’t call it a bossy “e”

Why we shouldn’t call it a bossy “e”

The Bossy “e”

Many of us know about the bossy “e” on the end of words….where the “e” on the end (of a word) ‘bosses’ the preceding vowel making it say it’s name instead of its short vowel sound.

I’ve referred to this for the last 40 odd years as the Bossy “e”, and it’s only now that I’m realising that all this time I really should have been calling it a silent “e”.

For example /a/ makes the short vowel sound as in cat hat and sat

and

ā makes the long vowel sound as in make, game, tape

I’ve referred to this for the last 40 odd years as the Bossy “e”, and it’s only now that I’m realising that all this time I really should have been calling it a silent “e”.

This is because it’s not always bossy!

Boy, it’s going to be hard to change this ingrained habit but it makes more sense so change I will.

I’m now going to stop calling it a bossy “e” and start calling it a silent “e” because it is so much more than that, and sometimes indeed not that (bossy) at all!

Instead I’m going to start saying that we need to see the “e” on the end and decide if we have to make it bossy or just note that its there (as we’ll need to remember for when we’re spelling that word).

We should explain to children right from the get-go that our eyes need to see the “e” on the end, but we hardly ever sound it out.

Here’s what some of the silent “e” jobs might be:

Some handy little exceptions:

acne, cafe, resume (the e is making a sound in those words)

I’ve known about the word origin stuff for a while, but recently found a great website by Debbie Hepplewhite (out of the UK) which introduced me to the idea that we should be telling kids to ‘see’ the “e” not sound it out.  Brilliant.  You can check out her Phonics Teaching Tips here.

By | 2017-01-06T05:57:05+00:00 January 6th, 2017|Language- literacy|0 Comments

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