Red Foxes - Tip Sheet (needs work)

An image of the cover of the book "Red Foxes" showing a fox sitting sideways and looking back with its tongue out


Red Foxes - Teacher Tip Sheet

Purple Series - Book 5 - Red Foxes

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • long <e >/ē/ (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/, <u-e >/yū/, <u-e >/o̅o̅/


  • 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/, <wr >/r/

Additional Concepts

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

Key Concepts to Understand - Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

  • one job of marker <e >(often referred to as “magic <e >”) is to mark the preceding vowel as long
  • there are many ways to spell /ē/ (e.g., <e >, <ee >, <ea >, <y >, <e-e >, <ie >, <ey >, <ei >)
  • <e-e >is the least common way to spell long <e >in single syllable words

Note: there is no “rule” to determine which spelling is used to represent long <e >/ē/ in words; when using these words for practice, explicitly tell students that they will be spelling words with <e-e >


Words for Reading and Writing

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

  • here, these, theme, eve, Pete, Steve, athlete, concrete, delete, stampede, sincere, concede, complete

Key Concepts to Understand - Orthography

  • marker <e >(often referred to as “magic <e >”) has many jobs
  • one job of marker <e >is to mark the preceding vowel as long
  • another job can be seen as a “suffix canceller” (e.g., if the base sense was written as sens , the word would be understood as (sen + s) which would mean more than one sen

Activity to Try

  • Put the following on the board:
  1. gees





  1. Ask students to create word sums (e.g., gee + s → gees).
  2. Ask students to define “gees”.
  3. Once students cannot come up with a definition, tell them you wanted to write geese .
  4. Ask them if they know of a marker that can go at the end of a base that has a “job” and is not pronounced.
  5. Tell them the meaning of tense , cheese , false , and raise and ask them what grapheme needs to be at the end of the base in order to spell the word correctly.

Orthographic Conventions/Patterns and Generalizations

  • ”marker <e >” as suffix cancellation (e.g., sense)


Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • suffix <-es >as plural ending (forms another syllable)

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
  • suffix <-y >
  • suffix <-er >as comparative and as agent

Key Concepts to Understand

  • suffix <-es >is used instead of suffix <-s >when another syllable is needed
  • every syllable has a vowel phoneme, this does not necessarily mean a vowel grapheme (e.g., prism )

Refer to Page 5 in Orthographic Conventions Background Information Sheets


Note: remind students that suffixes come “after bases” and not “at the end of words” as there can be more than one suffix (e.g., play + er + s and catch + er +s)


Activity to Try

  1. Ask students to say the base fox .
  2. Ask them to say fox again with their lips closed and notice how many “hums” happen.

Note: there are many ways in which teachers ask students to identify syllables (e.g., clapping, chin drops). Students are most accurate when saying the word with closed lips which forces a “hum” with every vowel phoneme.


  1. Ask them to now say foxes with their lips closed and then identify how many “hums” there are and therefore how many vowels they should expect.
  2. Write “foxs” on the board and ask them to count the number of vowel graphemes there are.
  3. Ask them what type of grapheme (vowel) is needed to create another “hum.”
  4. Show them suffix <-es >.
  5. Give students a suffix <-s >card and a suffix <-es >card and ask them to hold up the correct suffix when attaching them to the following bases:

Suggested bases: box, can, kiss, glass, mask, cube, watch


Note: suffix <-es >is also attached to bases that end in <o >such as: do, go, echo, potato, etc.


Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice.

Noun Phrase

Verb Phrase

Prepositional Phrase

Eve, the athlete

jumped faster

on the bumpy boxes

painter Steve

cannot cover the paint

with his smaller brushes

Pete, the horse

ran quicker than Cleve

across the tall grasses

the fun baseball players

swung on the fence

by the nice catchers

Comprehension Corner - Red Foxes

Vocabulary Development

  • What is a grassland?
  • What is a litter of pups ?

Making Connections

  • Why does the author describe foxes as dog-like ?
  • Have you ever seen a fox in the wild?


  • Why do you think foxes that are not red are still called “ red foxes ?”


  • List the “red fox facts” the author states in the book.


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