Silent letters are the letters in words that are not pronounced, but make a huge difference to the meaning and sometimes the pronunciation of the whole word.
Most of these silent letters were pronounced for centuries then they became silent, but the spelling was already fixed with these spellings, and now they show the history of the word.
There are some rules to help us spell them:
•The letter ‘b’ is often silent after ‘m’ – thumb, bomb and lamb
•The letter ‘w’ is often silent before ‘r’ – wrist, wrap and wrestle
•The letter ‘c’ is often silent after ‘s’ – scissors and muscle
•The letter ‘d’ is silent in some common words – Wednesday and sandwich
•The letter ‘u’ is often silent when it comes after ‘g’ and before a vowel – guard, guest and guitar
•The letter ‘t’ is often silent after ‘s’ – castle, listen and Christmas
•The letter ‘l’ is often silent when it follows the vowels ‘a’, ‘o’ and ‘u’ – yolk, calf and could
•The letters ‘g’ and ‘k’ are usually silent before ‘n’ – gnome and knee
•The letter ‘h’ is silent in lots of places
•Between two vowels – vehicle
•At the end of a word after a vowel – cheetah
•After ‘w’ – why/what/when?
Task 1: Underline the silent letters in the following words:
Task 2: Add in the missing silent letters in the following words:
Task 3: Fill in the gaps in the sentences below with a word with a silent letter:
1)I never tell lies because I am a very _____________ person.
2)The doctor gave me a cream to ________ my hand so that I wouldn’t feel the needle.
3)My granny taught me how to ________ so I have made a scarf.
4)________________ is my favourite month of the year.
5)It is important to take care when using a _________ because they are very sharp.
Challenge: Write a fun mnemonic to help remember how to spell words with silent letters.
e.g. c r u m b – clever rats understand my books