What the heck is that e doing in the word have?

Many teachers who take the time to teach spelling are confounded about how to explain why there is an e at the end of words like have or give.  Some can share with their students the fact that the “magic e/silent e” can make the vowel before it long – like the long a sound in gave, the long o in stove, or the long i in hive but why is there an e in have and give if those vowels represent the short sound?  Most people chalk it up to the fact that English is crazy and so teach these words as sight words to be memorized.  The fact is that English is NOT a crazy language; there are reasons for the way words are spelled – and the letters in words are not just there to represent sounds… In my years of searching for the answers to questions such as the one I posed, I have been able to appreciate the history and beauty in our language and am thoroughly enjoying my journey toward understanding.  The best thing is I get to share this with my students who feel a great comfort in knowing that English spelling is predictable and regular if you only understand how it came about.   I would like to share some of the interesting facts that I have learned along the way.  Check back next week for the answer to this first question!!


About ogmsl

Fellow with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). I have a Masters Degree in Education from OISE/University of Toronto and am a certified Ontario teacher. Family connection with dyslexia. Past President of ONBIDA - Ontario Branch of International Dyslexia Association. In Private practice working with students of all ages and also teacher training.
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