Learn all about the Long E vowel sound, including the 8 ways to spell long E, and the ultimate free printable list of the most frequently used long E vowel sound words.
Table of Contents
All About Long E
Long vowels are vowels that make the same sound as the actual letter name. I teach my students to chant, “Long vowels say their name!”
The sounds /ā/, /ē/, /ī/, /ō/, and /ū/ are long vowel sounds. Examples of words that start with long vowels:
There are 8 ways to spell the Long E vowel sound:
👉 Patterns E, E-E, EE, EA, and Y are the 5 most common spellings.
👉 You can also spell long E with ei, ie, and ey, but these are less common.
- e says /ē/ like equal.
- e-e says /ē/ like scene.
- ee says /ē/ like bee.
- ea says /ē/ like read.
- y says /ē/ like baby.
- ei says /ē/ like receipt.
- ie says /ē/ like cookie.
- ey says /ē/ like turkey.
👉 Scroll to the bottom of this post to get the most comprehensive list of long vowel E sounds for FREE!
👉 Learn more about long vowels and get 2 printable anchor charts that show the difference between the sounds made by long and short vowels.
👉 For more, get our Long A words list.
Long E Words
Below are the 8 ways to spell the Long E vowel sound, with helpful information and examples of common words that follow each spelling pattern.
Open Syllable Words
The letter E will be long in a syllable that ends in the letter E. We call this an open syllable. The long E can say its name at the beginning (e/vil), middle (be/gin), or end (me) of a word.
Words with Long E sounds at the end of an open syllable:
E-E Words (Long E with Silent E)
When there is an e–consonant-e pattern, the ending E will stay silent. The first E in the word will say its name. We call these VCe, magic e, or silent e words.
Notice that there aren’t many words that follow this E-E pattern. Most long E words are spelled with vowel teams EA and EA.
Words with Long E with Silent E:
EE Words (Vowel Team)
EE is a common vowel team for spelling long E. It is used as a base word at the beginning, (eel) middle (street) or at the end of a word (see). In English, over 300 words use EE to spell long E!
Long E word examples using vowel team EE:
EA Words (Vowel Team)
The vowel team EA is used mainly with base words. It can also come at the beginning (eat), in the middle (meat) and end of words (sea).
Over 300 English words use the vowel team EA to spell long E!
Words that include the vowel team EA to spell the long E sound:
Y Words (Y as a Vowel)
When the letter Y comes at the end of a word or syllable, it is a vowel and is considered an open syllable. Words ending in Y will make the long E or long I sound.
When reading, students will have to try both the long E or long I sound until the word sounds real.
Often times the letter Y serves as a suffix and is added to a base word. Dirt becomes dirty or craze becomes crazy.
Words with the letter Y making the long E sound:
EI, IE, and EY Words (Vowel Teams)
Be sure children have mastered the five ways to spell Long E as listed above before you can introduce these next 3 advanced vowel teams!
EI, IE, and EY are three additional vowel teams that can also make the long E sound. These are used less frequently than the others.
Words with Vowel Team EI to spell long /ē/:
Words with Vowel Team IE to spell long /ē/:
👉 Note: Many more words include spelling pattern IE. This IE pattern is used with base words ending in the letter Y when a suffix is added.
If the letter before the Y is a consonant, then the letter Y gets dropped and is replaced with I+ES or I+ED. It looks like the vowel team, but it isn’t.
For example: story becomes stories. bury becomes buried.
Words with Vowel Team EY to spell long /ē/:
Teaching Tips & Best Practices
With over 300 words using vowel team EE and over 300 words using vowel team EA, you’ll want to focus a lot of your instruction on these two vowel teams. These are the two most common ways to spell the long E vowel sound.
Unfortunately, there is no rule for teaching the difference in EA or EE spellings. Kids need strong visual memory to remember how a word looks in order to spell it correctly. Students without a lot of exposure to text or those with poor visual memory skills will struggle with this.
But this list is useful because you’ll be exposing them to these words and building memory through teaching these phonics patterns.
Learning to read and spell happens one phonics skill at a time. When one is mastered, another is added in.
Follow a specific scope and sequence that is structured and sequential when teaching any new phonics skill, including all the ways to spell long /ē/.
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