“FLOSS” is a memory trick for words that have a doubled letter at the end. In general, we double words that end with an F, L, S or Z if the word is one syllable, with one short vowel and the F, L, S or Z comes immediately after the vowel.
First things first! What the heck is a long spelling?
English has a lot of silent letters added to words. There is a category of words that end with a spelling pattern that doesn’t change the sound of word at all because it adds a silent letter. This pattern exists only for spelling reasons, and there’s a set of guidelines that applies to these words- with exceptions, of course!
This group includes words that end in doubled letters (buzz, hiss, fluff, hill) and words that end with -ck (duck), -tch (watch), and -dge (badge).
You can only use a doubled letter after a short vowel- long vowels don’t get an extra letter!
That’s why CLIFF has two F’s and BEEF has one.
You only use a long spelling immediately after the short vowel- no extra letters allowed!
That’s why TRUCK has a CK, and TRUNK does not.
Often we don’t use a long spelling in a 2-syllable word.
That’s why FRIDGE has a -DGE ending, and REFRIGERATOR does not.
Now it's time to practice!
First, I will explain the idea behind the doubled letters – we’re adding a secret silent letter that you can’t hear, but it’s important for reading and spelling.
I teach them a song (to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down): “doubled letters make one sound, make one sound, make one sound. Doubled letters make one sound, they just exist for spelling!”
Then we practice! I write word beginnings, then I dictate a word and the student writes the ending.
Now for a challenge!
I write a new set of words, but this time they have to choose- does the word get a doubled letter ending or not?
Now they have to think about what they know and apply it in context, and that’s a lot harder. Go slow and offer as much help as they need.
After the lesson has been taught and reviewed with play, it is time to read a book, a short story, or even a collection of 3-5 sentence to practice our new concept in context.
The next lesson always starts with review, and the best way to review is with…. a game!
I created this FLOSS War! Game. It follows all the rules of normal war, except students must read their words as they put them down. It has a combination of 3 letter words and FLOSS words for variety and can be played with 2+ people.