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!
✌🏽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
‼️ 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?
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. Basically, 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 that was taught to my son in his Lexercise tutoring was that kids need to “test the word” to see if it will follow the 1-1-1 rule.
We ‘test the word’ by asking:
- Does the base word have 1 syllable?
- Does it have 1 letter/one vowel sound in the base?
- 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.
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.
*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.
📄 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 15 words to see if they meet the criteria for applying the doubling rule.
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!
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