Thursday

The Schwa Sound

What is the schwa sound? The schwa sound says, "uh". All vowels will make the schwa sound in some words. Here are some examples of words with the schwa sound:
The letter a: about, banana, was
The letter e: the, open, travel, item
The letter ianimal, family
The letter oabove, gallon, dinosaur, another
The letter u: particular


The schwa sound often times happens in an unstressed syllable.
This might be confusing to a beginning reader.
It may be best to introduce schwa as a sound a vowel can make.

Here's a fun video about the schwa sound.


So . . .
When a long or short vowel sound doesn't work, try the schwa sound. It's like the short u sound, or the sound a person makes when he or she is thinking.

Learning vowel sounds and sounds for vowel combinations may be the hardest part of learning to read. I think teaching the schwa sound and not calling all words with the schwa sound a sight word greatly improves a new reader's chances of correctly sounding out many more words.
Here are a few links you may find helpful to learn more about the schwa sound.
Teaching the Schwa from BBC
Wikipedia's Definition

Find more from me at Parent and Child Reading Assistance.
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9 comments:

Rebecca said...

love the schwa!! love teaching it too!

LYNDSEY said...

Hi! I'm your newest follower.

Thank you so much for this post on the schwa sound. This is a tricky sound to teach. My kids LOVE the name, though. Ha!

Thanks for sharing.

Lyndsey
A Year of Many Firsts

Dawn Ann said...

What is the "long to schwa" and "short to schwa"? My daughter has a list words that are supposed to go under each category.

Michelle said...

Hi Dawn,
I looked this up, and I'm not sure. My only guess would be if an ending, prefix, or suffix was added did it change from a long vowel or short vowel sound into a schwa sound. Here's a discussion link I found helpful to learn more about the schwa sound, but I didn't find the answer to your question. http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2509166

Dawn Ann said...

Thank you. There were words like suffice and sufficient, preside and president. I will look at the discussion. Thanks again.

Michelle said...

You're welcome Dawn. I appreciate you sharing some of the words from the assignment. I think I was almost on the right track. Thanks for the brain stretching. I hope you and your daughter figured it out. Have a great night!

Teacher Help For Parents said...

Thanks! This is very helpful.

nihon5 said...

Thanks so much. Homeschooling overseas and using a spelling book that was donated to us. Had no idea what a "schwa" sound is, boy am I thankful for you.

Anonymous said...

I home teach and this "schwa" word came up in a lesson! I'd never heard of it! Thank you for clearing this up!!!