Why Teach Words with AY Sound
There are a lot of words that have the AY sound in them. And, if you are someone that has been wanting to help kiddos properly decode words versus teaching them to only learn by sight, this is a great sound to target!
When our oldest came home from school with sight words to practice, I knew there had to be a better way to teach these words. Telling a child to just learn them by sight felt wrong to me, like I was teaching them a “trick” instead of true decoding skills.
As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I was doing. For example, let’s take a look at the word “look”. I’d said, “If you look at this word, it appears to have two eyes looking at you.” I went on to draw two eyes and a smiley. It looked a little like this:
Cute, right? But, I quickly realized that this was a bad approach. And, here is why.
Do you think the words ‘look’ and ‘see’ look anything like each other? Of course not, they don’t even contain the same letters!
But, when I would work with my child on sight words the word ‘look’ was suddenly being confused with the word ‘see’.
And, I knew immediately why.
Both ‘look’ and ‘see’ are sight words. And, they are similar in meaning.
Instead of looking at the letters, they were simply pulling from their memory bank a picture of eyes and choosing the first word that came to mind. Which, typically was the word ‘see’.
Children, nowadays, are being taught not to sound out their sight words. And, that most sight words are typically rule breakers to the English language.
However, looking at the list of sight words in front of me, I knew this was untrue. For example, words that contain the letters ee and ea together make the long E sound within a word.
When I came across these patterns, I began to say things like “when ee are together, it makes the /ē/ sound, like in see”. Or “ay makes the sound /ā/ as in play”.
This felt right and I could see the lightbulbs start to turn on.
It was at this point that I decided to take matters into my own hands. And, I went on a hunt to find resource to help me teach these words better.
Book to Help with Decoding Words
It didn’t take me long to find what I thought was the perfect resource. I quickly purchased it and two-business days later, I had the book, called Uncovering the Logic of English, in my hands.
And when I say this book is good, it is GOOD. If you are a parent, teacher or you just want to learn more about the English language, I highly recommend it.
It is so comprehensive and does an excellent job of explaining how to decode words. As a matter of fact, that book alone has helped answer just about any question I have, in regards to high frequency words.
In there, we not only learn that words with AY do make the /ā/ sound, as in day, but why those words are spelled the way they are.
It’s an excellent read.
List of Words that Contain AY
If you are looking for a way to incorporate words with the AY sound in your decoding practice, I have compiled a list below. These words would be perfect to use in sentence building or reading practice.
Those words with an asterisk* may require further lessons, such as “er says /er/, as in sister”.
Worksheets for Words with AY Sound
I’ve created worksheets and practical exercises to help children with words that contain the AY sound. These were used in my own home and I’ve seen great success with them.
If you’re wanting to focus on words with the AY sound, be sure to check out these resources. I think you’ll find them helpful!
Final Thoughts on Words with AY Sound
My hope is that we come to realize there are other options for teaching our kids sight words, outside of pure rote memorization. After all, most of our high-frequency words are actually decodable.
Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful!