Teachers, you’ll be amazed by the power of the GE and DGE Spelling rule – it helps spelling skills become so much simpler! Just have your students practice listening for those long and short vowel sounds directly before the /j/ sound. Tell children, “when you hear a short vowel that comes directly before the /j/ sound use DGE.”, “But if you hear a long vowel sound or a consonant sound directly before the /j/ then use GE at the end of the word!” Fun fact: this spelling generalization is also known fondly among teachers as “The Huge Bridge rule”!
What children need to know before spelling with GE and DGE
Equip your kids to be syllable sound superstars! Teach them the know-how of hearing the difference between long vowels and short vowels and how to read closed-syllable words. They should have decoding skills with 4-5 sound words.
Steps to Teaching the GE and DGE Spelling Generalization
Discovery through Highlighting Word Lists
In the beginning, let’s get pupils exploring words with a word sort! See if they can find DGE words and GE words. Then, have them look closely to see the word endings DGE’ or GE. You may just be surprised at how quickly their eyes will pick up on the spelling patterns.
Have students search for words ending with GE to recognize the long vowel/vowel team or consonant before this combination. Encourage them to highlight these spellings to draw attention to spelling generalizations.
Create A Writing Word Sort with GE and DGE
Give children additional practice with spelling choices by writing their own words with the letters GE or DGE to practice these spelling generalizations. Using Simultaneous Oral Spelling while students write makes the experience multisensory by having kids say the letter names as they write.
Use an Anchor Chart and Questions to Guide
As teachers, we can be helpful guides for our students as they learn a new spelling generalization. Here are some probing inquiries to get them thinking:
- Is this a one-syllable word?
- What sound do you hear as the last sound in the word?
- Is there a short vowel sound right before the /j/ sound?
- If yes the /j/ sound will be spelled <dge>.
Mastering this particular skill requires consistent practice; be sure to provide ample opportunities for your students! With enough repetition, they’ll become experts at recognizing long vowels and consonant sounds so that spelling with GE and DGE becomes easy for your students.
Flip Out with GE and DGE
Let the fun commence! Liven up your teaching sessions with our word-sorting flip cards which are an interactive multi sensory worksheet. This free resource will help students hone their listening skills so they can better differentiate between spelling words with GE or DGE. Please note that this game resource is available for download at the end of this post! Please leave feedback or comment if this resource is helpful for your classroom.
Review At the Start of Each Lesson
Offer your students a unique learning experience with an interactive spelling activity! Help them develop their reading skills by focusing on the breakdown of each word into separate sounds using orthographic mapping.
Learning to spell correctly can be a challenge for students with dyslexia, but with the right guidance and motivation, it doesn’t have to feel so daunting. An orthographic mapping template is an invaluable tool in giving students the chance to familiarize themselves with new spelling generalizations.
Games Games Games with GE and DGE
Ready to spice up traditional phonics and spelling practice? Challenge your student with spelling and reading games. Print out our wordlist resources. Have children spell on our empty game board resource – if they get a word right, let them roll the dice for even more fun! Your goal: keep advancing on an interactive game board along multiple sessions until you hit a total score of 20-100 points.
Other helpful games are “Go Fish” “Memory” or “Word War”. Kids hardly know they are learning when playing games with new words. Game worksheets and resources are some of the best resources for learning because children are so motivated to keep practicing reading and spelling at school and at home! If you know some other helpful games please leave a comment below your feedback is so greatly appreciated.
Have Your Students Teach the Concept of DGE and GE
Expand student understanding of the GE and DGE generalization by having them “be the teacher.” Have students explain how much they have learned by explaining spellings to other students, or parents. Not only does this help them solidify their grasp on the concept but it motivates them and shows the teacher where the gaps are when the children are teaching the lesson.
Build Longer Words with DGE and GE using prefixes and suffixes
Challenge older students to expand their vocabulary with syllable and word cards. See if they can transform the simple “judge” into complex constructions such as “prejudge,” or even stretch it further to be creative by conjuring up a word like “misjudgment”! Syllable cards are a wonderful resource for all kids to build their reading skills.
Teach Rules that can be generalized for many words
By utilizing only a traditional phonics program, teachers may not always teach the class invaluable spelling rules that can assist students in recalling common words.
For instance, introducing them to the “Huge Bridge Rule” could be an extremely beneficial exercise. If students were presented with the unfamiliar word ‘fudge’ and spelled it as ‘fuj’, simply informing them of how to spell this word would do little for their overall learning experience. But relating this DGE or GE ending to the whole series of generalizations like the K or CK or the CH and TCH generalization will be helpful to children to spell many words well.
Use Decodable Passages with DGE and GE
The more resources we use with students the better they generalize their learning to various settings. That’s why my favorite resource to use in school is decodable passages. Using words within the context of a story is a valuable practice for students because they can see GE and DGE used in context. After we search the story highlighting word endings, we read the passage and can discuss other aspects of DGE and GE.
We can also discuss how the silent e has the job in words with GE and DGE of making the G say it’s soft sound as in the word ‘gem’. We can also mention silent e also has the job after the letter c. An e following a letter C also makes a soft C sound as in ‘city’.
After the story, we work on comprehension and then allow students to write about the story. When students must apply their learning in authentic writing it is the best way to review concepts and to determine if true learning is happening.
Teaching in A Structured Literacy Approach Classroom
Unlocking the mysteries of written language can be a daunting and challenging journey for students struggling with dyslexia. However, by explicitly teaching Spelling Rules that apply to many words– such as ‘page’ and ‘badge’- understanding becomes easier.
Learning the rules and concepts and lots of practice can reinforce a deeper level of learning. I hope these ideas and resources will equip your learners with the tools they need to make these discoveries along their educational path. More resources are available in my store on TPT. Please leave feedback or a comment if you find a resource helpful. It is always greatly appreciated.
Sign up to receive freebies and get a free pack with games and an anchor chart for the Huge Bridge Rule.
Q: What is the GE and DGE Spelling Rule (The Huge Bridge Rule)?
A: When a short vowel sound directly precedes the /j/ sound, write DGE. If there’s any consonant or long vowel sound preceding the /j/ sound, use GE.
Examples of words ending in GE include: gage, rage, huge and binge Examples of words that end in a DGE instead of a GE are: bridge, nudge, budge, and badge