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Vowel phonics patterns

· Short vowels are the five single letter vowels, a, e, i, o, and u when they produce the sounds /æ/ as in cat, /?/ as in bet, /?/ as in sit, /?/ as in hot, and /?/ as in cup.
· Long vowels are the synonymous with the names of the single letter vowels, such as /e?/ in baby, /i/ in meter, /??/ in tiny, /o?/ in broken, and /ju/ in humor.
· Schwa is the third sound that most of the single vowel spellings can produce. The schwa is an indistinct sound of a vowel in an unstressed syllable, represented by the linguistic symbol ?. /?/ is the sound made by the o in lesson. Schwa is a vowel pattern that is not always taught to elementary school students because it is difficult to understand. However, some educators make the argument that schwa should be included in primary reading programs because of its importance in reading English words.
· Closed syllables are syllables in which a single vowel letter is followed by a consonant. In the word button, both syllables are closed syllables because they contain single vowels followed by consonants. Therefore, the letter u' represents the short sound /?/. (The o in the second syllable makes the /?/ sound because it is an unstressed syllable.)
· Open syllables are syllables in which a vowel appears at the end of the syllable. The vowel will say its long sound. In the word basin, ba is an open syllable and therefore says /be?/.
· Diphthongs are linguistic elements that fuse to adjacent vowel sounds. English has four common diphthongs. The commonly recognized diphthongs are /æw/ as in cow and /??/ as in boil. Four of the long vowels are also technically diphthongs, /ei/, /??/, /o?/, and /ju/, which partly accounts for the reason they are considered "long."
· Vowel digraphs are those spelling patterns wherein two letters are used to represent the vowel sound. The ai in sail is a vowel digraph. Because the first letter in a vowel digraph sometimes says its long vowel sound, as in sail, some phonics programs once taught that "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking." This convention has been almost universally discarded, owing to the many non-examples. The au spelling of the /?/ sound and the oo spelling of the /u/ and /?/ sounds do not follow this pattern.
· Vowel-consonant-E spellings are those wherein a single vowel letter, followed by a consonant and the letter e makes the long vowel sound. Examples of this include bake, theme, hike, cone, and cute. (The ee spelling, as in meet is sometimes considered part of this pattern.)