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.
I call it the lazy sound for a vowel.

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. Here's a video showing some words you may not have thought have the schwa sound. 

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's a video I made showing two common words with the schwa sound.
Uh! What's The Schwa Phonics Sound?
Wikipedia's Definition

Find more from me at Parent and Child Reading Assistance.


Rebecca said...

love the schwa!! love teaching it too!

Lyndsey (A Year of Many Firsts) 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.

A Year of Many Firsts

Dawnye 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.

Parent and Child Reading Assistance 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.

Dawnye said...

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

Parent and Child Reading Assistance 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!!!