A Clear Vowel Sound

rsvp step by stepMany phonics books and dictionaries define an accented syllable as one which receives emphasis or is spoken louder etc., etc. None of them mention that the accented syllable is always the one in which we hear a clear vowel sound. Of course, since the teaching of vowel sounds is somewhat neglected in our schools, students are not adept at the skill which enables them to readily hear the vowel sounds in words. The syllable which contains the clear vowel sound is the accented syllable. The syllable or syllables in the word which contain the unclear vowel sounds (the schwa sounds, if you please) are the syllables which are unaccented. RSvP™ Step by Step students are taught to identify accented and unaccented syllables. If our students are going to be able to interpret the phonic re-spellings in the dictionary, they must be taught to interpret diacritical markings on the vowels, to recognize the schwa or schwas in the word, to respond to accent marks and to arrive at the correct pronunciation. I hope you are beginning to understand what a great boon it would be to the teaching of reading if only the publishers of dictionaries would provide a uniform diacritical marking system which students could learn as early as the second grade.

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