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ERR (merry) Sound Multisyllable Word List

By Rodney Everson • Updated Jun 9th, 2023

OnTrack Reading Phonics Program

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The /err/ sound has five spellings, err (berry), arr (carry), er (perish), ar (parent), and ere (nowhere). These word lists are arranged both by spelling and by the chunk that the spelling occurs. They can be a valuable resource for locating words to illustrate a certain pattern or to find words to practice reading that pattern.

Spelling words on this list can be challenging because it is difficult to form a “perfect pronunciation” that makes sense in most cases. That makes it an excellent list for spelling practice since much of it involves rote memorization of the spelling of the /err/ sound.

Of the 7,000 words in the database constructed from a popular children’s dictionary, 118 of them are multisyllable words containing the vowel sound /err/.

Note on the word divisions: Each word is divided into chunks determined by the unique and highly effective OnTrack Reading Multisyllable Method. The chunks are not syllables.

Note: The designation of an /err/ sound is controversial in some regional dialects. Essentially, if all three words in the phrase “Marry merry Mary” sound identical, the teaching of an /err/ sound should be considered. However, if the regional dialect pronounces marry with an /a/ sound, merry with an /e/ sound, and Mary with an /ae/ sound, then teaching an /err/ sound is not necessary. The words on the /err/ list can be included on the lists for the /a/, /e/, and /ae/ sounds instead.

Also, when the /r/ sound follows a typical spelling of the /ae/ sound, as in the words chair, share, bear, and their, children can be taught to blend these spellings sound by sound. Therefore, these spellings (air, are, ear, eir) do not need to be included in a list of /err/ sounds.

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Comprehensive Word Lists

Features over 100 word lists built from 7,000 words input from a children's dictionary. Lists are organized by vowel and consonant sounds and cover most common spellings. Useful in the classroom for building curriculum aids such as short stories that emphasize specific sounds and spellings. Multisyllable words are also included, chunked according to the method taught in the OnTrack Reading Advanced Code Phonics Workbook.
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