Autumn has arrived in Australia.
Many teachers and parents discuss leaves turning brown and falling off trees or the change in the weather as the season moves from summer to winter.
I see the word autumn and I see an opportunity to study the word, the letters, the sounds they represent and the use of the capital letter.
If a child or student has difficulty spelling or reading a word, find ways to make learning the word easier. This not only helps them understand the English language, it also helps them spell future words which may use the same letter-sound combinations.
Autumn Word Study
Autumn is considered a common noun not a proper noun, therefore it does not begin with a capital letter. This is often confusing for children (and adults) who see days, weeks, months capitalised and assume seasons would also be capitalised.
There are few times when seasons are capitalised and these are explained clearly on a grammar website. (http://www.english-grammar-lessons.co.uk/lessons/capital_letters_spring_summer_autumn_winter_seasons.htm)
If seasons are given human characteristics such as ‘Winter’s icy breath’ or if they are part of a proper noun such as, Melbourne’s Autumn Festival then the seasons are capitalised.
Depending on your child/student’s level of understanding would depend on how detailed your explanation is of capital letters.
Here is a link to the pronunciation of autumn http://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/autumn
The letters um often have different pronunciations depending on a child/adult’s accent. Some people say /um/ while other people say /em/.
The word autumn begins with the letters au which represent the sound /aw/
The /aw/ sound represents many different letter variations.
With students or your own child read the following passage and note the amount of words which have the /aw/ sound, however use different letter combinations.
On a warm autumn day, I walked out my door and saw four more leaves fall from trees. I was in awe of the colours and made sure I caught the next leaf to fall.
ar – warm au-autumn al – walk oor-door aw-saw our-four ore-more all-fall awe-awe ure-sure augh-caught
The n at the end of autumn is silent.
The following letters in the English language can be silent in some words, b, c, d, g, , k, n, p, t, u and w.
Rule: The letter n is silent if it comes after m at the end of a word.
Here are some other words which use the silent n, autumn, column, damn, condemn and hymn.