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Unit 7, Part 1: Spelling the long vowel sounds

Page 6 of 12

Unit 7: Short vowels, Part 1: a and e

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Page 6 of 12

Spelling the long vowel sound /ā/: a-e, ai, ei, ay

homophones - learn to spell similar sounding words Homophones with the long /ā/ sound.

If you confuse these words the computer spellchecker will not spot your mistake -
so it is especially important to learn them.

made - done, built

maid - young woman, servant
I made that birthday card myself.

The maid brought the tea on a tray.

male - man

mail - post

Male birds do not lay eggs.

The mail is late again today.


sail - on a boat

sale - act of selling
He sailed around the world single-handed.

I put a 'For Sale' sign in my old car.

mane - horse's hair

main - most important
Kate brushed her horse's mane.

We don't want to live near the main road.

plain - simple, not fancy

plane - airplane
Our dad prefers plain food to spicy.

The plane was delayed by fog.

lane - small road

lain - past tense of lay
Flowers grew at the side of the lane.

The body had lain there for weeks.

whale - the sea mammal

wail - crying noise or siren

Wales - part of Britain
The blue whale is the largest mammal.

The baby gave a loud wail.

Charles is the Prince of Wales.
Learning tip to help your spelling
A whale is heavy.

Wails means cries.
words with long vowel sound a

pane - piece of glass

pain - hurt
The window had a broken pane.

I was in great pain after my fall.

waste - use more than you need

waist - middle of body
Don't waste your money on that ride.

I have lost weight around my waist.

vale - valley

veil - covering the face
There are many villages in the Vale of York.

The bride wore a long white veil.

shake - move about

sheik - Arab chief
(also 'sheikh')
The earthquake made the ground shake.

The sheik rode a beautiful horse.

wait - stay

weight - heaviness
Wait here until I get back.

To win the cake you must guess its weight.

way -
1) road
2) manner

weigh - measure weight

1) Which way shall we go?
2) I don't like the way you said that.

How much do you weigh?

wade - walk through water

weighed - past tense of weigh
We had to wade across the stream.

Mum weighed out a kilo of flour.

slay - kill in battle

sleigh - sledge
Did St George slay a dragon?

The sleigh was pulled by reindeer.

ate - past tense of eat

eight - number 8
We ate far too much last night.

I get to work at eight o'clock.

gate - door in fence

gait - way of walking
Please close the garden gate.

That horse has a very odd gait.

pray - talk to God

prey - hunted animal
Muslims pray in a mosque.

The eagle preys on small animals.

vain -
1) admiring oneself
2) useless

vein - blood vessel

vane - weather-vane

1) Some pop stars are very vain.
2) He waited in vain for her to call.

The veins in my leg are swollen.

There is a weather-vane on top of the church.

rain - wet weather

reign - rule as king or queen

reins - to lead a horse
The heavy rain caused some flooding.

Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years.

Hold the reins lightly.

The last three homophones include some 'rule-breakers' from the last page:

grate -
1) shred
2) fireplace

great-
1) large
2) very good

1) Grate some cheese to go in the sauce.
2) Clean out the ashes from the grate.


1) I paid a great deal of money for that.
2) Will he make a great President?

brake - slow down

break -
1) smash
2) gap, rest
I stood on the brakes to miss the cat.


1) Be careful not to break that glass.
2) We had a break half-way through the lesson.

stake - post

steak - meat
The fence was made of wooden stakes.

They serve the best steak in town.

next part of the spelling course
Go to the next part of this unit:
Spelling the long vowel sound /ē/.

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