We like to get creative with spelling rules. Spelling is typically challenging for our students, so why not have some fun with it? This activity will help students rule out when to use -dge at the end of a word.
When the /j/ sound is heard immediately after a short vowel, at the end of a one syllable word, it is spelled with -dge. (PS: The same rule applies for when to spell words with -ck, -ff, -ll, -ss, -zz at the end.)
Tell your students that it is time to decide whether certain English words are “guilty” of -dge or not. Each student is a judge in this court case. They will use a pencil as their gavel, you will say each word on “trial.”
The first word that walks in is “huge.” Looks like a rather innocent word, but we can’t be certain. To be sure “huge” isn’t guilty of -dge, we must pound and finger tap the word together.
“Huge” – /h/ /ū/ /j/
Phew! “Huge” is not guilty of -dge and can remove itself from the stand.
In comes the next word, “fudge.” “Fudge” comes in looking pretty grim. Looks like there is a raincloud over its head. Looks suspicious but we must double check. Let’s sound it out.
“Fudge” – /f/ /ŭ/ /j/
Is it true? Yes, sure is. “Fudge” is guilty of -dge. We tap our gavels (aka pencils) on the table and send fudge straight to jail.
Make a Word Wall!
After “court,” consider adding the -dge words on a word wall in your classroom. Have the -dge spelling rule up there also to refresh their memory as to when we spell words with -dge.
Students are sure to get a kick out of it.