In this post, I’ll share:
- When to use Double Consonants
- The Floss Rule and Double Consonants with Suffixes
- Double Consonant Warm-Up Activities
- What Is Word Builder?
Word Builder presents students with a picture for context and the word broken into syllables. Students have to correctly spell the word before time is out. When the time is up, they receive immediate feedback on the correct spelling.
When to use Double Consonants
There are two instances where we use a double consonant: the floss rule and short vowels in a multi-syllabic word. In each instance, the consonant following the short vowel is doubled. Some people call this the doubling-up rule.
The doubling-up rule in spelling is a rule that tells you when to double the final consonant of a word before adding a suffix that starts with a vowel. The rule applies to words that have one syllable, one vowel, and one consonant at the end. For example, the word “stop” has one syllable, one vowel, and one consonant at the end. When you add the suffix “ing”, you double the final consonant to make “stopping”.
The FLOSS rule is a spelling rule that tells you when to double the final consonant of a word before adding a suffix that starts with a vowel. The rule applies to words that have one syllable, one vowel, and one consonant at the end, and the consonant is preceded by a short vowel.
You can start teaching double consonants to students in grade 3. This is when students typically have a firm understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds. They can also read and spell different one- and two-syllable words.
The Floss Rule
The floss rule is a spelling pattern that doubles the ending consonant. It features:
- Short vowel
- Ends with ff, ll, or ss
Some examples of words with the floss rule are buff, sniff, hill, bell, moss, and truss.
I’ve always wondered where the word “Floss Rule” comes from. I looked it up and found this answer:
Double Consonants with Suffixes
Suffixes and inflected endings (here’s a free warm-up unit on the topic) also use fit with the double consonant pattern as long as there is a short vowel before the consonant.
- drop > dropped
- split > splitting
You can see there’s a pattern with the syllable before the suffix. The base word ends with a CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) pattern. Compare that to these words, which do not have the CVC pattern:
- wimp > wimped
- splint > splinter
These words have CVCC patterns in the syllable before the suffix. Of course, that also means there is no doubling of the final consonant.
Examples of FLOSS and Doubling-Up Rule
Here are some other examples of words that follow the FLOSS rule:
Sniff + ing = sniffing
Fall + ing = falling
Mess + ing = messing
Buzz + ing = buzzing
Jazz + ing = jazzing
The doubling-up rule for double consonants is a little different.
For example, the word “stop” has one syllable, one vowel, and one consonant at the end. When you add the suffix “ing”, you double the final consonant to make “stopping”.
Here are some other examples of words that follow the doubling-up rule:
Hit + ing = hitting
Swim + ing = swimming
Big + ger = bigger
Thin + est = thinnest
The Double Consonant Warm-Up
The double consonant activities in the warm-up do not go into all of the technical teachings. That’s best reserved for your mini-lesson or small group. The warm-ups reiterate the important patterns and allow students to practice them in five short, spiraling warm-ups.
How do I use the Double Consonant Activities?
Like all of our warm-ups, there is no prep. You select the warm-up, ready the class, and press play.
We recommend using them as a warm-up after the spelling pattern has been taught in at least one mini-lesson. Here’s a sample lesson format:
- 5 Minutes: Teach a double consonant mini-lesson on Monday.
- 3-5 Minutes: Use the first double consonant video on Monday or Tuesday to let students practice the spelling pattern.
- 3-5 minutes: Use the second double consonant video on Tuesday or Wednesday for spiral review.
- In the next week, spiral back to the double consonant spelling pattern. It’s actually good for retention and recall to wait a week. Learn more about the science behind long-term retention and waiting a week here.
- Week 2, Monday: Double consonant video.
- Week 2, Tuesday: Double consonant video.
- Week 3, Wednesday: Double consonant video.
What is Word Builder?
This week of Word Builder warm-ups are perfect for grades 2-3. Students reading on DRA levels 20-36 will benefit the most, but there are other applications as well.
If you teach students in grades 3-5, the double consonant pattern is critical for spelling and decoding success.
If you teach students in grades 3-5, the double consonant pattern is critical for spelling and decoding success. The Word Builder activities can be used to strengthen these skills with an intervention group or English Language Learners.
After this sort of lesson/warm-up sequence, 80-90% of your students will develop a strong proficiency in the double consonant pattern. Continued use in other word study warm-ups such as our Spelling 3 unit, will also reinforce double consonants. Before you know it, you’ll have stronger readers and writers!