1. Teach that doubled consonants are usually digraphs for one sound.

2. Introduce the First Exception to the Main Rule.

3. Practice applying the First Exception.

Pre-Class Preparation:

1. Write on the board: Main Rule: Stop each chunk after the vowel sound and say the First Vowel Sound.

2. Write on the board: First Exception: Add any double consonant to the chunk.

3. Select the words you wish to use for this lesson from the word list at the bottom of this page, or from this PDF of the list:

Class time elapsed: 0 minutes

In-Class Procedures

1. Tell the class that the Main Rule has three exceptions and that you're going to cover the First Exception in this lesson.

2. Write the following doubled consonants on the board, reminding the class that they each occur in many words: bb, dd, ff, gg, ll, mm, nn, pp, ss, tt, zz. Also write down an example as you write each spelling, for example gobble, padding, taffy, wiggle, hammer, zipper, butter and buzzer.

3. Discuss the First Exception and then tell the class that the doubling of a consonant was a way of marking the preceding vowel letter as a First Vowel Sound. Refer to the examples you've written. Because a doubled consonant usually marks the vowel sound, we add it to the chunk containing that vowel sound.

Program Tip

Following the Main Rule, we stop the chunk after the vowel sound except when a doubled consonant comes after the vowel sound. Make sure that your students know what the word “exception” means in regard to a rule. Use an example they can identify with, such as one exception to the rule that they stay until the end of class time is when there is a fire drill. That is, they are to follow the normal rule governing when they can leave your classroom except when there is a fire drill.

Time elapsed: 4 minutes

4. Write the first word from the list, ripper, on the board and ask a student to draw a vertical line after the first chunk. Correct as follows: If a student draws the line after ri, refer to the First Exception. If a student draws it after rip, tell him he split the /p/ sound right down the middle. When done, point out that the word decodes correctly as ripp-er on the first pass.

5. Write the companion word, riper, on the board and ask a student to draw a vertical line after the first chunk. Correct as follows: If he draws the line after rip, point to the Main Rule and ask why he added the /p/ sound. If he draws the line after ripe, tell him he split the /er/ sound and underline the er to make the point. Then tell him to apply the Main Rule again. Now point out that riper decodes as ripper on the first attempt (using the First Vowel Sound), but that it can't be ripper because we spell that with two p's. Therefore, we try the Second Vowel Sound, /ie/, to arrive at riper on the second pass.

Time elapsed: 8 minutes

6. Now go through several of the pairs in the first grouping of words on the list below, or from the PDF, having students draw the vertical lines designating the chunks and decoding the result. In all cases, the second word of the pair requires an attempt at a Second Vowel Sound in order to decode the word.

Time elapsed: 13 minutes

7. Warn the students that one doubled consonant, the doubled ll, is not always preceded by a First Vowel Sound. Then go over the words in the second grouping below, or from the PDF. The first word in each pair has a First Vowel Sound, whereas the second word in a pair has the other common result when ll follows that letter.

8. After running down the examples, point out that the letter a can sometimes be the Third Vowel Sound, /o/, as in taller, that the letter o can sometimes be the Second Vowel Sound, /oe/, as in roller, and that the letter u can sometimes be the Fourth Vowel Sound, /oul/, as in bully.

Time elapsed: 15 minutes

The Word Lists

First Grouping

ripper, riper
dinner, diner
canning, caning
gripper, griper
mopping, moping
tapper, taper
snipping, sniping
dotted, doted
copping, coping
bitter, biter
stripping, striping
ridding, riding

Second Grouping

mallard, taller
ballot, ballroom
shallow, hallway
hollow, roller
pollen, polling
follow, tollway
gully, bully
duller, fuller
mulling, pulling