Puffins - Tip Sheet

An image of a cover of the book "Puffins" showing a group of puffins clustered on a cliff in front of the ocean


Puffins - Teacher Tip Sheet

Purple Series - Book 2 - Puffins

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • long <u >/yū/ (in VCe pattern)

Previously Introduced


  • all short vowels, <u >/o͝͝o/
  • <o >/ō/, <e >/ē/, <y >/ī/, <ee >/ē/, <ay >/ā/, <ai >/ā/, <y >/ē/, <a-e >/ā/, <i-e >/ī/, <o-e >/ō/


  • all single consonants and clusters
  • <ng >/ng/, <nk >/nk/
  • <s >/s/ and /z/, <c >/s/


  • <th >/TH/ voiced, <th >/th/ unvoiced, <ck >/k/, <ff >/f/, <zz >/z/, <ss >/s/, <ll >/l/, <sh >/sh/, <ch >/ch/, <qu >/kw/, <-tch >/ch/, <-dge >/j/, <wh >/wh/

Additional Concepts

  • <al >(<a >as short /ŏ/ before <l >)
  • <wa >(<a >as short /ŏ/ after <w >)
  • <er >/er/, <or >/or/

Key Concepts to Understand

  • long <u >can be pronounced /yū/ and /o̅o̅/
  • there are many ways to spell /yū/ (e.g., <u >, <u-e >, <ew >, <eu >)

Note: there are only a small number of words that use <u-e >to spell the long /yū/ phoneme as other spellings are more frequently used


Words for Reading and Writing

Here is a list of words that can be used for phonemic awareness activities, reading, dictation, games cards, etc.:

  • cube, cute, fume, fuse, huge, mule, mute, puke, use, excuse, accuse, commute, confuse

Orthographic Conventions/Patterns and Generalisations

Tips and Activities to Try

  • 3 syllable words, stress and schwa review

Key Concepts to Understand

  • polysyllabic words often have a syllable that holds the primary stress
  • a vowel sound in an unstressed syllable/word is called a schwa
  • a schwa is a non-distinct vowel sound that does not sound like any of the main vowels in isolation

Refer to Page 5 in Grapheme to Phoneme Background Information Sheets for more information on schwa.


Activity to Try with Multisyllabic Words

Write multisyllabic words on the board and ask students to identify the vowel(s) that have reduced (schwa)

an-i-m a l      ba-na-na     a-bout     pen-cil     fo-cus     vo-wel     prob-lem


Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • suffix <-y >as adjective - gives a sense of characterised by or inclined to be

Previously Introduced

  • suffix <-s >third person singular, plural, and possessive
  • suffix <-ing >as present participle
  • suffix <-ed >as past tense of a verb
  • compound words

Key Concepts to Understand

  • vowel <y >can be pronounced many ways so ensure that you avoid absolute language such as “<y >says /y/”
    • /ē/ in final position of multisyllabic words (baby, city) when syllable is unstressed
    • /ī/ in final position (try, my - usually in single syllable words or stressed syllables)
    • /ĭ/ in medial position (gym - from Greek origin)
  • written and spoken words in English are formed by combining structural units called morphemes
  • morphemes are meaning units, contributing to the overall sense of a word, or have a grammatical function
  • suffix <-y >as an adjective gives a sense of characterised by or inclined to be

It is key for students to understand the structure of words (prefix/base/suffix) and not sound out these affixes.

Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice. These phrases can be combined to create sentences. A good opportunity arises to address syntax if the resulting sentence is not grammatically correct.

Noun Phrase

Verb Phrase

Prepositional Phrase

her cute baby

was going to puke

by the smelly mule

the skunk’s fumes


under the fuzzy chair

the huge, messy ape

made a thump

after she landed on the cube

the lucky swan

met his kind mate

on the bumpy grass


You can differentiate for students by dropping some of the words in these phases (e.g., “her cute baby” can just be “her baby”).

High Frequency Words

Tips and Activities to Try

  • “their”

Key Concepts to Understand

  • their is best taught alongside the words them and they as they are all “people connected” and all share the <e>
  • their → “belonging to” or “associated with” the people or things previously mentioned (e.g., “somebody’s something”)

Note: there will be addressed inThe Tides (Purple Series)

Comprehension Corner - Puffins

Vocabulary Development

  • What is another word for fantastic ?
  • What is another word for bill ? Do you know another meaning of bill ?

Making Connections

  • Do puffins remind you of any other birds?
  • What other baby birds have names that end with “ ling ”?


  • How do the cliffs keep puffins safe from animals such as dogs and minks?
  • Why do you think puffins have such colourful bills?


  • What did you learn about puffins?


Tip Sheet written by Shari Kudsia and Helen Maclean - April 2023 - © SyllaSense Inc.