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What is a Schwa?

I've googled it and came up with this. The The schwa is the vowel sound in many lightly pronounced unaccented syllables in words of more than one syllable. It is sometimes signified by the pronunciation "uh" or symbolized by an upside-down rotated e.

The 2nd grade spelling books we are using asked the kids to divide the spelling words into 2 groups/columns based on the location of the schwa. However, the book gave no examples and did not explain what a schwa is. I think I have a fair understanding now, but I'm still unsure.

Can anyone explain it in simple terms? Simple enough for a 2nd grader to understand?

The spelling words are:
alone
comma
alike
awake
idea
ago
again
away
agree
above

8 of the above words have the schwa at the beginning and 2 of them have the schwa at the end.

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 3:29 PM on May. 11, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • For sample:

    Uh-lone is how alone sounds ide-uh is how idea sounds
    BradenIsMySon

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 3:35 PM on May. 11, 2011

  • alone
    alike
    awake
    ago
    again
    away
    agree
    above
    beginning shwa

    comma
    idea
    ending shwa
    BradenIsMySon

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 3:34 PM on May. 11, 2011

  • you've pretty much explained it
    Ask them which words have that sound in the beginning and end
    butterflyblue19

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 3:35 PM on May. 11, 2011

  • As someone who had a phonics based education in the '70s, this really takes me back! In previous lessons have the children been introduced to writing the words phonetically? That would definitely help.
    jmpj8107

    Answer by jmpj8107 at 3:43 PM on May. 11, 2011

  • All of the lessons have been based on phonics and yes the kids have been learning to spell and read phonetically. It just this term "schwa" was thrown in today and both kids were like what the heck does that mean? The teacher manual I have was no help, it didn't give any explanation etc. (Most of the time there is explanations and examples at least in the teacher manual). In the seconds it took me to look it up, my son said he figured it out and did the work and told my daughter to just list the words according where the letter a is in the word.

    Clearly he was on the right path, but I had to be sure to explain it to him (and my daughter) why that is correct and not just based it on the position of the letter a in the word. I also emailed some of my friends and asked them. They all had to look it up seeing it wasn't a term they were familiar with either. Love the fact I learn something knew today as well. :)
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 4:19 PM on May. 11, 2011

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