Reading Resources => General Reading Links => Topic started by: Cheyenne on March 07, 2019, 06:03:04 PM

Title: Kate the Brave: A story for learning silent "e"
Post by: Cheyenne on March 07, 2019, 06:03:04 PM
When I was developing a test related to matching the sounds of words with their spelling, I found this story ( ( It is free to access and only some supplementary materials are behind a paywall.

As a summary, it tells the story of a girl named Kate who builds a machine that can change objects in "silent 'e' objects". For instance, when she places a cap inside, it turns into a cape. The story is formatted as a digital storybook that is fully illustrated. There is also a narrator who reads the story and each word is highlighted as he reads. This story is targeted to first grade L1 learners.

Using this text would help with teaching reading with a bottom-up model, specifically synthetic phonics instruction. The benefit of using this approach as opposed to analytic phonics is that the students will get to encounter the words in context of a written passage. I especially like that this story takes a rule of writing and turns it into a plot mechanic.

A post-reading activity you can do with students is to create word lists that show the silent "e" rule. You can do this two ways:

Novice readers: Give students a list of "e-less" words (hop, plan, rob, ect.) Have students predict what would happen to the words if they went in the "silent-e machine". They can predict the spelling, the pronunciation, and the meaning if they know the word.

More advance readers: Ask students what words they would put into the "silent-e machine". They can come up with their own words and see if they follow the silent-e rule. It's possible they will find exceptions to the rule which you can bring to the class' attention. (2016, February 03). Kate the Brave Silent E Story | Story. Retrieved from (
Title: Re: Kate the Brave: A story for learning silent "e"
Post by: mrcheald on March 21, 2019, 08:48:18 AM
I really love this idea Cheyenne! This reminded me a little bit of the book "P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever" in which every word has the first letter pronounced differently than we expect (T is for Tsunami, K is for Knight, etc). I think the story you found is a much more systematic way to cover a concept that a lot of English language learners find difficult. It makes me think that I could somehow steal the ideas from "P is for Pterodactyl" to teach some other tricky English pronunciation concepts to more advanced learners.
Title: Re: Kate the Brave: A story for learning silent "e"
Post by: Cheyenne on April 13, 2019, 02:06:11 PM
Thanks for the feedback! I will have to look into the Pterodactyl book. It sounds like a good resource for some of the historical quirks of English that sort of stuck around in spelling despite sound change. You could probably use ( to take this idea and make your own stories for in class use to teach these weird spellings.