Niagara Falls - Tip Sheet

An image of the cover of the book "Niagara Falls" showing a small boat floating at the bottom of the large waterfalls and a huge cloud of mist at Niagara Falls


Niagara Falls - Teacher Tip Sheet

Purple Series - Book 8 - Niagara Falls

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • <g>/j/

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/, <e-e>/ē/


  • 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

  • <-dge> is used directly after a single, short, vowel to represent /j/
  • <g> is often softened to /j/ when followed by an <e>, <i>, or <y> (this is more consistent when /j/ is at the end of a base), and is less reliable than the soft <c> convention

Words and Phrases for Reading and Writing

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

  • age, gel, gem, cage, gene, huge, page, hinge, forge, lunge, merge, range, grunge, plunge, sponge, twinge, teenage

Here is a word chain you could complete with blending cards:

age → cage → rage → page → wage →sage → stage


Provide students with the following (unsorted) words:

<g> /j/

<dge> /j/

gender, generate, gist, gorge, singe, verge, fringe, indulge, giant, ginger

judge, edge, ridge, hedge, smudge, grudge, sludge, pledge, dodge, fudge


Ask students to sort the above words based on these two categories. Have them investigate when we use <g> vs when we use <dge>.

Prompt: “Circle the grapheme that precedes the /j/ (if there is one).”

Orthographic Conventions

  • <g> as /j/ (when followed by <e>, <i> or <y>)


Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • suffix <-ly> - gives a sense of like or manner of

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/as agent
  • suffix <-es> as plural
  • suffix <-ful>
  • suffix <-est> as superlative

Key Concepts to Understand

  • suffix <-ly> → gives a sense of like or manner of
  • when attaching a suffix to an element ending with the single grapheme <y>, replace the <y> with an <i> (e.g., happy + ly → happily)

Note: this is a tip for future use, words with suffix -ly in Niagara Falls do not have bases ending in <y>


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

Refer to Page 4 of Morphology Information Background Sheets


Activity To Try

  1. Provide students with a sufffix -ly card (use red to differentiate from the base).
  2. Teacher reads base such as glad, (either written on the board or orally presented).
  3. Students repeat glad, hold up suffix -ly card and say the new word gladly.

Students are responsible for repeating the base and adding the suffix <-ly>, NOT independently decoding the base. Therefore, words with vowel teams that have not yet been taught can be used in this activity. The goal is to understand suffix <-ly> as a meaning unit, not as something to sound out.


Suggested bases:

  • high, neat, proud, slow, hopeful (hope + ful), cheerful, successful, cost, warm, even, wise, open, dear, final, harsh

Words and Phrases for Reading and Writing

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

  • badly, coldly, sadly, sickly, mainly, quickly, wildly, softly, lonely, kindly

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

the cheerful judge

wrecked her toys

behind the stage

the huge page

was softly playing his flute

by the old king’s lodge

sickly Gene

quickly cringed

at the lonely gorge

the kindly horn player

felt a tinge of pain

after it sadly dropped on him


You can differentiate for students by dropping some words from the phases (e.g., “the cheerful judge” can just be “the judge”).

High Frequency Words

Tips and Activities to Try

  • subject word “Niagara”
  • We have not yet taught all concepts found in the word “Niagara”. Support student as needed to read this word.

Comprehension Corner - Niagara Falls

Vocabulary Development

  • The author says, “You can go on a hike along a river trail to watch the river rapids.” What are rapids?
  • What do you think raging water looks like?

Making Connections

  • Have you visited Niagara Falls? Have you seen any other waterfalls?


  • Why do you think there are tunnels behind the falls?
  • How do you think Niagara Falls was formed?


  • What did this family do in Niagara Falls?


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