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Practice Silent e

Whether you call it ‘Magic’ e or ‘Bossy e’, here are few card games to help your students practice reading words with long-vowels and Silent <e>. All of the activities can be played after preparing the cards in the manner detailed below. Of course any reading skills can be practiced using cards like these, but the games below are all written for practice with long-vowel words with Silent <e>. If you wish to practice another skill, simply choose the words that best suit the skill you are currently teaching. Once you try these games, see what other games you can play with your silent e playing cards! 

Making the Card Deck

Items needed: 

  • Print and cut out Silent <e> cards
  • or create your own with a deck of playing cards following the instructions below.

First, compile a list of several words containing silent e. A traditional deck of cards contains 4 matches for each of the 13 individual cards (ace, king, queen, etc.). You can choose to compile a list of 13 words with silent e and give each word 4 matches, or use a list of 26 words where each word will only have 2 matches. This will depend on the reading ability of the children you are teaching and how much repetition and practice they need.

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To prepare the cards, write the silent e words, either 2 or 4 times, on the name tag labels. If you wish to create “suits”, you can use different colored markers to write the words. Next, place the labels on the faces of the playing cards. You now have a deck of reading playing cards ready for the activities below! 

  1. Go Fish 

Items needed: 

  • Print 2 sets of the Silent <e> cards

Perhaps the most well known and simplest card game, Go Fish will have your children reading silent e words over and over again as they ask for matches for the cards in their hand. “Do you have the word “tube”?” Deal 5 or 7 cards to each player, and let the reading begin! 

  1. Memory Match 

Items needed: 

  • Print 2 sets of the Silent <e> cards

Another classic, simple card game, Memory is easy to set up and even easier to play. Simply choose a number of matching word cards, or use all 52, and lay them face down on a flat playing surface. Players take turns flipping two cards over at a time and reading them, trying to find two matching words somewhere on the board. The player with the most matches at the end wins!

  1. War

Items needed: 

  • Print 1 set of the Silent <e> cards

In the traditional game, 2 players are each dealt 26 cards face down. They simultaneously flip over the top card of their individual decks to reveal the numbers. The player with the higher card wins both cards, which go face up into a discard pile. When your deck is empty, you shuffle the discard pile face down to form your new deck and continue play. The player with all the cards at the end wins. 

You may think that without number values, War is a hard game to play. But it is simple! You just need a little creativity. 

The value system for this game is based on the long vowel-sounds in the silent e words. Just as in the original version of the game, the ranking system is ace to jack, with ace being highest, the silent e ranking system is as follows: A, E, I, O, U, with A being the highest and U being lowest. So if “ride” and “rode” were played, “ride” would be the higher value card.

Also as in the original version of the game, if two cards of the same value are played, for example “ride” and “hive”, the players each lay their next three cards face down, then their fourth card face up. The player with the higher value fourth card wins all 10 cards now in play, and the game then continues as usual.