Long "A" Sound

This language lesson is designed for 6 to 12-year-old children to guide them about distinct sounds of the long ‘A’ and the words starting with it. 

In our previous video lesson, we learned about the long ‘A’ sound produced by silent ‘e’, ‘ay’, and ‘ai’. It can be difficult for children to understand when to produce a long or short ‘A’ sound, so it’s important for them to master this spelling rule. Therefore, This video can help them learn more about long vowel sounds and patterns that make a long ‘A’ sound, such as ‘ei’, ‘ea’, and more. For example, words like ‘weight’, ‘bear’, and ‘apron’ all have a long ‘A’ sound. This video lesson is the second in the series introducing the sound of the long ‘A’.

Prerequisites to Learn the Sound of Long ‘A’ Rules

In order to teach this spelling rule, it is helpful if

  • A child must understand the concept of short vowels. This will help them comprehend the difference between short and long sounds more easily.
  • A child should be able to form two-letter words or CVC words.
  • A child should be able to segment a word of 4 or 5 sounds.
  • A child should be able to understand when to use the ‘a_e, ‘ai’ and ‘ay’ (long ‘a’ sound 1 rules).
  • A child should thoroughly know open-and-closed syllables.

Sound of Long ‘A’: Part 2 Rules

The long ‘A’ sound can be tricky because it can be spelled in various ways. We have learned three ways to spell the long ‘A’ sound based on the long ‘A’ sound 1 rules. There are also three other ways to say the long ‘A’ sound: ‘ei’, ‘ea’, and ‘a’ alone (in an open syllable). The child should know about these extra spelling patterns.

  • ‘A Alone’ Rule

This rule says that if the vowel ‘a’ comes at the end of an open syllable, then it makes a long sound. For example – apron, able, lady.

An open syllable is one where the vowel is at the end of the syllable and is not closed by a consonant, as in “a/pril”, “pa/per”, and “po/ta/to”.

Forming Words with ‘a alone’ Rule

    • A + pr + il = April
    • B + a + by = Baby
    • Cr + a + zy = Crazy
    • To + ma + to = Tomato 
    • T + a + b + le = Table 
  • Vowel Team – ‘ei’ Rule

The letters “ei” together make a long “a” sound, even though there is no “a” in the vowel team. It’s easier to remember the words that have “ei” making a long “a” sound, like weight, reins, neigh, and veins.

Forming Words with ‘ei’ Rule

    • Ei + gh +t = Eight
    • N + ei + gh + b + or = Neighbor
    • W + ei + gh = Weigh
    • Sl + ei + gh = Sleigh
    • V + ei + n = vein
  • Vowel Team – ‘ea’ Rule

This is not the most common way to spell the long ‘a’ sound. It’s hard to know how to pronounce ‘ea’. The letters ‘e’ and ‘a’ together can make many distinct sounds, which happened because English changed over time and other languages like German and French influenced it.

Learning how to spell specific words, and practicing them is the best way. Here’s an example: the vowel team “ea” makes the sound of long “a” in words like steak, great, break, bear, tear, and wear.

Forming words with ‘ea’ rule

    • T + ea + r = Tear
    • B + ea + r = Bear
    • P + ea + r = Pear
    • St + ea + k = Steak
    • Gr + ea + t = great

Exceptions to Long ‘A’ Sound 2 Rule

There are some exceptions to these rules, as the sounds produced by the rules for the long ‘A’ sound can also produce other sounds.

  • The vowel team ‘ei’ makes a long ‘e’ sound in words such as weird, height, and seizure.
  • The vowel team ‘ei’ makes a short ‘e’ sound in words such as their, leisure, and foreign.
  • The vowel team ‘ea’ makes a long ‘e’ sound in words such as eat, beach, and deal.
  • The vowel team ‘ea’ makes a short ‘e’ sound in words such as bread, health, and spread.

Long ‘A’ Sound 2 Rule Reading Readiness 

Spelling long ‘A’ Sound 2 can be tough because the vowel teams make different sounds. Here are some questions kids can use to figure out which spelling to use when reading words with long ‘A’.

  1.   What is the base word?
  2.   Is there an open syllable after the vowel ‘a’?
  3.   Is the word have one syllable or more?
  4.   Where is the long a sound in the word? 

Choosing the correct spelling can be tricky. The continuous practice of reading can help children form correct spellings. 

Tips for Long ‘A’ Sound Identification

When the letter A’ has the sound /a/ it is a short sound like in arrow, arch, and axe. When the letter ‘a’ makes the sound of its name /A/, it is a long ‘A’ sound like in aim, age, and ate.

  • Reading is the best way for children to identify and comprehend the long vowel sound rules.
  • Read along with the child and discourage them from guessing spellings.
  • Do not push the children too fast to understand the rules. Remember- slow and steady wins the race. A slow and steady approach would help the child understand all the sounds.
  • Always prefer to introduce one spelling rule at a time. Once the child can read and spell, the words of that rule thoroughly jump on the second. 

Ideas to help the child understand the Long “A” Sound 2 Rule

  • Sorting: Sorting words by spelling patterns can be a helpful way for children to understand the pronunciation. We can create games, such as matching or memory games, or simply sort words into piles or columns. This can help children learn the differences between various sounds of the long ‘A’ and help them memorize the necessary spellings.
  • Flashcards: Making a game educational is easy with flashcards. Use a simple game where children take turns picking up a card. After picking a card, give a task like reading the word out loud, sorting it, or asking another player to spell it. Something as simple as writing the word in the air after reading it aloud can also be effective.

Invite the child to explore the different patterns and help them gain a better understanding of the long vowel sound. Repeat this activity by asking the child to practice the patterns with different words of English words using the vowel ‘A’ as shown in the video.

Related Sound Videos

To watch more language video lessons, click here.

Video Created by: Justine McNeilly