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Doubling Rule: Free Printables for Teaching Spelling

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Learn all about teaching kids the Doubling Rule (1-1-1 rule). It’s an important spelling rule that helps students spell tons of words with ease and accuracy! Get bonus free printables to practice the rule so it becomes automatic!

Blue image titled "Doubling Rule" with pictures of graphic, free worksheet, and pencil.
Get your free printables at the bottom of the post.

✌🏽What Is the Doubling Rule?

The Doubling Rule is a spelling rule that kids need to know. It applies to one syllable words with one short vowel that end in one consonant.

If a word meets this criteria, the final consonant is doubled when adding a suffix that begins with a vowel.

The rule is also referred to as the 1-1-1 rule because it only applies to words with:

  • base words that are 1 syllable (1),
  • with 1 short vowel sound (1),
  • that end with 1 consonant that immediately follows the vowel (1).

This includes words like pat, hum, run, grip and sun:

  • pat+ing = patting
  • hum + ed = hummed
  • run + er = runner
  • grip + ed = gripped
  • sun + y = sunny
Blue graphic entitled "Doubling Rule" with the 1-1-1 rule and example words.
Scroll to the bottom of the post to get this free visual.

‼️ Why It’s Important

Here is an example to help you understand why the doubling rule is important.

Consider the one-syllable base word hop. Now, when you add the suffix -ing without applying the doubling rule to the consonant, you get hop + ing = hoping.

But that isn’t the right word. “Hoping” is not the same as “hopping.” See how the pronunciation of the word has totally changed, and the meaning along with it?

Graphic showing the doubling rule with the word 'hop+ing" as an an example.

Doubling the consonant ensures that the base word will maintain its closed syllable attributes and the vowel sound will stay short.

This is why kids need to learn the doubling rule!

👨🏽‍🏫 How to Teach the Doubling Rule

You can use the terms Doubling Rule and 1-1-1 Rule interchangeably. Remembering the Doubling Rule means that when you see words following the 1-1-1 rule, you know you need to double the last consonant.

A great strategy for kids is to check the word to see if it follows the 1-1-1 rule.

We check the word by asking:

  1. Does the base word have 1 syllable?
  2. Does it have 1 letter/one vowel sound in the base?
  3. Is there only 1 consonant letter immediately following the vowel?

If the word passes the test, then it’s considered a 1-1-1 word. In that case, the final consonant MUST be doubled before adding a vowel suffix, like -ing, -es, and -ed.

If the word does not pass the test, it isn’t a 1-1-1 word. In that case, no doubling is needed. The vowel suffix can be added.

Doubling Rule graphic with examples and non-examples along with checklist.

Important: This rule is only applied when adding a vowel suffix, or a suffix that begins with a vowel. If the suffix does NOT start with a vowel (-ly, -ful, -less, -ty), then no doubling is required. The suffix just gets added.

*One exception to the rule is that words that end in the letter x do NOT get doubled. This is because x is the only English letter that has two sounds /k/+/s/.

📄 Using the Worksheet

We’ve created a no-prep practice worksheet to help your students master the doubling rule! In this engaging activity, students evaluate 12 words to see if they meet the criteria for applying the doubling rule.

Photo a printed and completed Doubling Rule worksheet along with the graphic for support.
Scroll to the bottom to download the practice worksheet free!

Utilizing a checklist to “test the word” for 1-1-1, students examine each word. Then they skillfully rewrite the base word with the suffix, applying the doubling rule when necessary.

We love this no-prep resource— simply print and dive into the lesson with your students!

We recommend presenting it with the accompanying double rules graphic. The graphic is perfect to use in your students’ phonics notebook.

👌🏽 Want to learn more spelling rules? Read about the other important Spelling Rules that you should teach students, along with more free resources! And if you aren’t sure if your student needs instruction in the doubling rule, then give your students a spelling inventory to assess their current skills.

Blue graphic entitled "Doubling Rule" with pictures of two free printables, and teacher pointing to easel.

Download & Print

We’d love to hear about how you’re using these free resources!
Please leave a comment below or tag us on Instagram @literacylearn!

DOWNLOAD TERMS: All of our resources and printables are designed for personal use only in homes and classrooms. Each teacher must download his or her own copy. To share with others, please use the social share links provided or distribute the link to the blog post so others can download their own copies. Please do not save our files to a shared drive, reproduce our resources on the web, or make photocopies for anyone besides your own students. Your support in this allows us to keep making free resources for everyone! Please see our Creative Credits page for information about the licensed clipart we use. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our terms, please email us. Thank you!

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