Silent E

The “silent e” is a crucial component of English phonics. This versatile letter, often found at the end of words, can change the pronunciation and meaning of words. For instance, the addition of a silent e transforms “hop” into “hope,” altering both the vowel sound and the word’s meaning [3].

The Seven Jobs of Silent E

Silent e has several roles in the English language:

  1. Making Vowels Long: It changes a short vowel sound to a long one, as in “cap” to “cape.”
  2. Softening ‘C’ and ‘G’: It softens the sound of ‘c’ and ‘g’ (e.g., “dance,” “large”).
  3. Ensuring Consonants are Voiced: In some words, it ensures the preceding consonant is voiced, like in “have.”
  4. Distinctive Word Endings: It helps distinguish between similar words, such as “or” and “ore.”
  5. Preventing Misreading: It helps prevent misreading by signaling the correct pronunciation of the preceding vowel.
  6. Marking Inflectional Endings: It signals the difference in pronunciation for words with inflectional endings, like “bake” and “baking.”
  7. Helping with Plurality and Tense: It assists in the proper pronunciation of plural and past tense forms (e.g., “loves,” “hoped”).


  1. Cap becomes cape.
  2. Tap becomes tape.
  3. Hop becomes hope.
  4. Can becomes cane.

How to Teach Silent E:

Introduce the concept: Explain to students that adding a silent E at the end of a word changes the sound of the vowel in the word. Show examples of words that change their sound with the addition of a silent E.

Practice reading words with silent E: Have students read words with and without the silent E and note the difference in sound. Encourage them to pay attention to the vowel sound and how it changes with the addition of the silent E.

Practice spelling words with silent E: Give students words without the silent E and have them add the silent E and spell the new word.

Read and write sentences with silent E words: Have students practice reading and writing sentences with silent E words to reinforce the concept.

Play games: Play games like “Silent E Bingo” or “Silent E Memory” to reinforce the concept.

Silent E is an important concept in English spelling that changes the sound of a word’s vowel when added to the end of the word.

Mastering the silent e is essential for emergent readers. It not only helps in accurate pronunciation but also enhances reading fluency and comprehension. By using a variety of teaching methods and resources, educators can make learning about the silent e engaging and effective for students.