What is the ‘schwa’ sound?

The schwa sound is the most common vowel sound in the English language. It sounds like the short u sound, uh as in up.

Read this sentence. — “I need the address in order to address the package” — Did use the schwa vowel sound? Did you say ad-dress, a-dress, uh-dress or both?

I recently learned about the schwa sound when my Son began to spell. If I had remembered, from school, the schwa vowel sound had a name it would have made it easier to teach him to read the words: the, again, away, come, once and many more. If children are reading and spelling for you, then you should know why they struggle with certain words. Please keep reading and SHARE with your friends, if you agree.

— The Schwa, represented by the upside down e, is the most common vowel sound in the English language. It is the unstressed vowel in a word or a phrase. It sounds the most like the short u sound, uh, as in up.

— A beginning reader can be taught. When he reads a word and it has neither a short vowel sound nor a long vowel sound it may have the schwa sound, so try that.

— A beginning speller also needs to be very aware of the schwa sound. He may need help pronouncing the words two or three different ways to visualize the correct and incorrect vowels.

— The schwa usage varies between English dialects. Read these words out loud. Animal, president, dozen, seldom and official. Also the sentence, “The cat in the hat knows a lot about that.

Do you use the schwa with any of those words? How did you say ‘address’ or any of the other words? Let me know if the information helped you. 

HSB Signature


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Look out for the follow up post… Sight Words / High Frequency Word list with the ‘schwa’sound! Coming Soon. 🙂

I haven’t read this book, but I plan to order it. Uncovering the Logic of English.


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