Mastering phonics skills can feel overwhelming. There are so many rules (and rulebreakers!). But, the science of reading research proves that explicitly teaching phonics in a sequential manner is most effective. Break down the rules for applying the double final consonants rule into the simplest terms using these helpful tips!
What are double final consonants?
Now that your students have mastered CVC words. it’s time to introduce more complex spelling patterns. There’s a special rule for one-syllable words with short vowels that end in sounds of /s/, /l/,/f/, or /z/. Whenever these conditions are met, the final consonant will get doubled.
Explicitly teach the rules
While the English language can feel very complicated, most of the time there are rules we can follow. It’s crucial to spell these out explicitly and refer back to them often. I also note that there are exceptions. In this case, the words “bus” and “pal” are two that fit the “rules” but are not doubled.
- Is it one syllable?
- Does it have a short vowel?
- Does it end in f, l, s, or z?
Depending on your program or curriculum, this might be called the “FLOSS” or 1-1-1 rule. FiZZLeS or bonus letters are also common names. No matter what you call these words, it’s essential to practice them in many ways.
Provide visual reminders
It’s critical for educators to use kid-friendly visuals as cues in order that kids can easily recall when it’s time to double the last letter! In one phonics program I have utilized, the alphabet was organized in a way so that the double consonant letters came at the end of each row. I really liked how this provided a built-in reference tool.
Once students know the rules, it’s time to practice identifying when a word needs a double final consonant. Completing a word sort is a great way to apply what they have learned to a new set of words. In the word sort below, students can ask the three qualifying questions and add a double consonant to the end if the word matches the criteria.
You can find these lesson materials and more resources for teaching double final consonants here.
Read and write words with Double Final Consonants
After I have explicitly taught a skill and students have had several opportunities to practice, I love to incorporate a text where they can find words that fit the pattern. Analyze texts together with students so they can observe how double final consonants work in context. Identify various nouns, verbs, adjectives. Talk about rules applied in each example and also discuss exceptions encountered throughout.
When students can practice reading and identifying words in context, they can exercise their decoding skills instead of relying on pictures or guessing. Using a decodable story is a great way to informally assess students’ understanding of phonics skills.
Helping students learn the double-final consonant rule doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. With these tips and strategies, you can make it an enjoyable experience for both you and your students. Don’t forget to provide lots of practice opportunities too! If you are looking for more tools to teach this skill, check out the lists below for lesson materials proven to be effective in mastering the double-final consonant rule.