Learn all about the long A sound, including the 8 ways to spell long vowel A: a, a-e, ai, ay, ei, ea, eigh, and ey. Learn how to teach long A and get a FREE printable list of words with long A sounds organized by spelling pattern.
All About Long A
Teaching students all the different ways to spell long vowels will help them become more independent, confident readers.
A is the first vowel I teach, and the long A sound can be spelled using 8 different patterns:
- The most common spellings of long A are A, A-E, AI, and AY.
- Less frequent ways to spell /ā/ are EI, EA, EIGH, and EY.
👉 For a free, complete, and printable list of 229 long A words, scroll to the bottom of this post and download it. But be sure to read all about long A first!
There are 8 ways to spell long A:
- a like acorn
- a-e like cake
- ai like rain
- ay like day
- ei like reindeer
- ea like steak
- eigh like eight
- ey like hey
Long A Words
Open Syllable Words
The letter A will say its name, or its long sound, when it is the last letter in a syllable. This is called an open syllable.
Long A sound word examples that include open syllables:
A-E Words (Long A Silent E)
The letter A will say its name when it follows a Vowel-Consonant-e (VCe) pattern. The E is magic, stays silent, and it makes the A say its name.
That is why we hear the long A sound in these words. This spelling pattern is used at the end of base words.
Long A silent E words:
AI Vowel Team Words
The vowel team AI is another way to spell long A. This is a spelling that usually comes in the middle of words.
I teach my students this jingle: “A-I in the middle says /ā/.” Make sure you say the letter names “A” and “I” when saying the jingle.
It is common to teach this spelling along with the vowel team AY (keep on reading below!).
Common words with long A in the middle, using the vowel team AI:
AY Vowel Team Words
The vowel team AY is another way to spell long A, and this pattern is used at the end of base words. I use this jingle with my students: “A Y at the end says /ā/.” (Again, make sure you say the letter names “A” and “Y” when saying the jingle.)
The great thing about this vowel team is that if they hear /ā/ at the end of a base or root word, it will most likely be spelled with AY.
Common words with long A at the end, using the vowel team AY:
EI, EA, EIGH, & EY Words (Vowel Teams)
These next four vowel teams are not commonly used to spell the long A sound. Be sure students have mastered the first four most common spellings for Long A before introducing these patterns.
Words with Vowel Team EI to spell long A:
Words with Vowel Team EA to spell long A:
Words with Vowel Team EIGH to spell long A:
Words with Vowel Team EY to spell long A:
Tips & Suggestions
- Before teaching long vowels, students should have a firm command of the five short vowel sounds, including all consonants, blends, and digraphs.
- Be sure to explicitly teach these long A patterns one at a time, in sequential order.
- Use a variety of activities to teach these long A spellings! Hands-on activities and multisensory activities are best.
Download & Print
How is it going teaching the long vowel A? We’d love to get your feedback! Tag us on Instagram @LiteracyLearn or comment below to let us know how you’re using the words on this list.
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