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Spelling Rules for Making Words Plural

When making words plural, why do you add S to some words but ES to others? And when a word ends with Y, how do you know whether to change the Y to I before adding the plural suffix? And why on earth does the word knife become knives?

You can unravel these mysteries with six scoops of ice cream. Just click the play button below for a yummy treat, and then read on for free printable spelling rule posters and sample lessons!

Ready to Dig In?

Whether you prefer your ice cream in dishes or in cones or with one cherry or two cherries, these tasty guidelines will help you spell plurals correctly every time.

Spelling Rule for Making Words Plural poster

Tips and tricks like these are taught throughout the All About Spelling program. Want to see more? Download these free resources to see just how easy teaching spelling rules can be.

download graphic for AAS Level 1 Lesson 16

Download All About Spelling Level 1, Step 23.

This lesson from All About Spelling Level 1 shows how we teach kids to make words plural by adding either S or ES.

download graphic for AAS Level 1 Lesson 16

Download All About Spelling Level 5, Step 17.

In this lesson from All About Spelling Level 5, you can see how we teach kids to pluralize words that end in F and FE.

spelling rules posters thumbnail

Download our free Spelling Rules Posters.

This handy resource will help make learning three important spelling rules fun and easy to remember for your children.

Do you think these guidelines for making words plural will improve your child’s spelling? Let me know in the comments below! And check out our other spelling rules, too!

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Leave a Comment

Vicky

says:

This program has made our homeschooling so fun and dynamic all while unraveling all the strange English rules. We love all about reading/spelling and have used it for our 2 boys and will continue on to our 3rd!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s so great to hear that All About Reading and All About Spelling are working so well for your boys and you, Vicky! 😊

Sally

says:

Love the cute posters.

Deanna

says:

Great posters.

Gina

says:

great resources. thank you!

Holly L

says:

This is a great resource. I am often asked why a word is spelled a certain way or why such and such a letter is silent. Sometimes I have an answer and sometimes I just shrug my shoulders because even I have no idea! The video clip of this on fb is really cute too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Holly!

If you are asked about why a word is spelled the way it is and you don’t know, just ask! I enjoy digging into the whys and whens of spellings.

Dawn G.

says:

I think this is a great activity to engage students in making words plural. My students have loved using this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
It’s wonderful that your students have enjoyed this poster! Thanks for letting us know.

Janine

says:

I love the graphics on this poster. It really helps my son visualize the rules.

Nicole

says:

My daughter will love this!

Carrie King

says:

Great tips!

Kate V

says:

My son hates spelling, but enjoys how interactive AAS is. He responds very well to the rules as taught in the program. I love the posters!!!!

Hannah

says:

Great posters!

Jenny

says:

Wonderful posters! Thanks!

Mindy Swertfeger

says:

We love having the posters for quick reminders! They are not too busy for us to do a quick glance and find what we need.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mindy,
I love that the posters are working out so well for you!

Carol

says:

Thank you for your spelling poster. It is an easy to follow lesson and poster. Very helpful.

Leah

says:

Great content! :)

Tammy

says:

Very helpful, thank you!

Crystal

says:

Looks like a wonderful curriculum for all our kids.

Jean

says:

Thankful for All About Spelling and the many resources available to make our homeschool successful!

Angela

says:

I am so grateful for this program! It has made a huge difference in our homeschooling.

Maryb

says:

I love these aids. I always end up learning something too, which ends up being a bonus for my child since it helps her realize learning is life long!

Layne

says:

Such a good idea!

Lisa Smith

says:

I love this spelling program! Everything is explained step by step, both the teacher’s part, and the spelling rules for the children.

Ashley

says:

Great info. Thanks!

D C

says:

Love All About Spelling! After years of struggle we are finally making progress. It is laid out so well that it is easy to just pick it up and “do spelling” every day. Consistency helps greatly.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes! Consistency is a key ingredient in any type of success. And I love that All About Spelling has helped to make consistency easy for you and your family!

JJ Perreault

says:

Thank you! These are great reminders to hang up.

Ashley

says:

Love all you do! Thank you!

ChristiS

says:

Love this idea! Thank you!

crystal a montgomery

says:

Good post…these are always tricky to teach!

Heather

says:

I love this poster! It would be great if these posters could print regular sized, to fit in a binder or file folder though. Our space is limited and I have no place for a giant spelling rules poster. I grew up on phonics and have typically been a good speller, but I only knew about 2 of these rules. Your program is helping this good speller become a good spelling teacher as well. I am using AAS 1 with my homeschooler as well as after-schooling my older child. The succinct clarity of the program is so rewarding.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
The Kids’ Club Rule and Floss Rule posters do print on a single sheet of 8.5×11 printer paper. The Making Words Plural poster just has too much on it to fit on a single sheet (it has six scoops!), but it prints on two sheets that could be put in a binder or file folder as left and right pages to be viewed all at once.

It’s so great that All About Spelling is helping you help your children succeed with spelling! 😊

Jen

says:

Love the posters!

Kristen

says:

AAS is helping my son be a better speller! I am so pleased.

Dan

says:

these are great games for kids to learn these rules.

Monica Saggau

says:

my son is struggling with spelling everything helps thank you

Ana

says:

Great! Really helpful

Ruth

says:

This spelling curriculum is already making a difference for my boys. We are now on level 2 and they are much more confident.

Heather

says:

Nice Posters. No need to notify me of follow up comments thanks.

Tiffany Hudson

says:

Super cute posters!

Susanna

says:

Very helpful for many ages and a good reminder.

Sheryl Dohnalik

says:

I have really enjoyed all of the letters of the alphabet crafts that are offered from All About. We are set for curriculum for this year but I plan to look into All About to see if it would be a good fit for us. Thanks for the letter patterns.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Sheryl! I hope you have lots of fun with the letter crafts. They make a lovely keepsake too!

Karianne

says:

So helpful and fun! Thank you!

Angie Leopold

says:

Great illustration!

I’m planning to start AAS with my second grader as soon as we get the funds to order it! We love AAR :)

Jamie MacDougall

says:

I love these spelling posters, especially for my visual learner! Using All About Spelling has really helped my son understand that there are rules that explain all the differences in spelling. We just finished AAS Level 1 and saw huge improvements in his spelling.

Lorraine

says:

I love All About Reading and would love to win All about Spelling.

Kristin

says:

Thanks! This looks fun!

Kristy

says:

Thank you for this helpful post. Looking forward to using All About Spelling and learning more spelling rules!

Andrea Smith

says:

Praise God! This is exactly what I need to work on with my son this fall! I look forward to using this resource.

Aimee Brackbill

says:

Thank you for this helpful post!

Jeanne McNeil

says:

Learning the rules taught in All About Spelling has really improved my children’s spelling!

Jason Goerlich

says:

This is great!

Maria

says:

This kind of post are very helpful! Thank you very much!

Kenneth Clayton

says:

Thank you for the great content.

Alex Baxter

says:

Love this!

Joe Sebik

says:

I love the ice cream poster!

Kristi

says:

I love how you’ve broken down each example with a cute visual!

Ramat

says:

This is very easy to understand by children, coupled with the brilliant colours that make it attractive and fun!

Yvette

says:

I don’t get how this relates to ice cream. Am I missing the point?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yvette,
A six scoop serving of ice cream is simply a great visual to put all the various rules of making words plural onto a single image. Six scoops are more appealing than a plain list of the rules.

Vita

says:

Really enjoyed this post…now it will be much easier to pass this knowledge on. Thank you so much!

Shannon

says:

I wish I had learned these rules in grade school.

Brenda

says:

Love this series. So does my grandson of 4 years.

Monique

says:

Thank you for this awesome resource!

Erin Buss

says:

This is the second year I’ve been using All About Spelling with my son. We both LOVE it. He is ahead of schedule and remembers the rules.

JoAnna

says:

I appreciate how each rule is “spelled out” so clearly in this program. It takes a lot of the guess-work out of spelling.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

JoAnna,
Thanks for the great pun! 😀

Nicole

says:

Thank You for this resource! Diving right into using it tomorrow with my children :)

ALICE

says:

SO VERY BRIEF AND HELPFUL!

Shannon

says:

This is great! Thanks.

Kayla

says:

We are enjoying AAR and can’t wait to add AAS soon!

Jennifer

says:

Thank you for all the wonderful ideas! We love AAR!!

JULIA V. HILTS

says:

This is awesome! Thank you!

Rachel

says:

Love it! I know this will help my first grader!

Nate

says:

Cool idea!

Holly Grantham

says:

Love the poster. It will be a very helpful visual reminder for my students.

Susan L

says:

We love the All About Reading program and are excited to add this AAS program to the mix. What a kid-friendly and approachable way to teach these tough spelling concepts! Thank you for the free posters!!

amber

says:

This is awesome. I downloaded the free poster and can not wait to use it with my kids. thanks

Marisa

says:

We will try this tomorrow!

Kristina

says:

This is our first year using all about spelling and al about reading and we are so happy we found this!

Jordan

says:

So helpful. Thank you very much.

Jordan

says:

So helpful. Thank you very much!

Jessica Burbank

says:

This was very helpful! Thank you!

Marie stewart

says:

This is so awesome. Cannot wait to show my grandson. This will help him so much as he struggles through these. I just learned a few new tricks as well.

Nicki

says:

Great idea! I love the posters!

Jennie Rae

says:

I love the fun freebies you have! Thank you 💗

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jennie! 💗

Kay Ling Ng

says:

A most yummy way to learn about making words plural!

Katie

says:

What a fun idea! Thanks!!!

Becki

says:

Oh! What a fun way to teach this!

Yara

says:

Very nice!

Shelly

says:

I love this poster! So colorful!

What a cool way to teach! My kiddos would love this.

Esmi

says:

Great info!

Jennifer

says:

Love this! AAR amd AAS has been wonderful for my son! We love it!

Elizabeth

says:

Love this! Such a great visual.

Katy

says:

My kids love this! Thank you!!

Katie O

says:

This is why I love this program. I learn alongside my children! ❤️❤️❤️

Julie Smith

says:

I’ve used this program through level 5 for years for our 8 children. Our house and my curriculum burned down last February and after using other supplemental spelling programs similar to AAS we had donated to us, I am realizing how effective AAS has been for us. It just doesn’t compare to the other programs we have used.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Julie, I’m so sorry to hear about your house fire. Please let us replace your AAS curriculum! We’ll reach out to you via email tomorrow to find out how we can help!

Kelly Mac

says:

Excellent! SO much more pallatable than dry rules . My kids will love this. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kelly. Enjoy the poster!

Excellent ! My kids love your cretion.

Kari Clark

says:

Where can I get this as a poster to hang in my room?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kari,
You can get all of our spelling posters here.

penney s farley

says:

How can I get the icecream poster?

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Here is the link, Penney! http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-rules-posters

Colleen

says:

Thanks, Marie, for the link and for a great program.

Amthul

says:

Very effective.

nieshang

says:

I like it.
It helps me to improve my English.

Debbie B.

says:

Is this available as a printable? That would be great!

Debbie B.

says:

I just found the poster link! Thanks!
http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-rules-posters

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thanks for posting it for others to find too, Debbie! Enjoy.

Arif naeem

says:

Good for learning kids

Angela Dominguez-Newball

says:

I will like to use this idea with my Spanish classes.

Diya

says:

I want be carfull about sounds pronouncation

Cathey Cook

says:

“Good Stuff” Thanks for posting

Shyanne

says:

Hi I like this I just joined pintrest

Amparo Sanchez

says:

great ideas!

Kristin

says:

I totally printed this and laminated it and am going to tape it to my wall. It’s so perfect!

Nicole D.

says:

My daughter is at this stage and sometimes gets confused, Love this chart!

Sabrina

says:

Thanks for the helpful graphics. We are working on this lesson right now with my 1st grader!

Jessica

says:

Love the cute graphic illustrating these hard-to-remember rules.

Sharon

says:

Thank you so much for making this cute graphic to help remember these rules. Keep them coming they are great!

Rebekah

says:

These tips are so helpful. My kids enjoy using AAS and I have seen them progress through the year! Thank you!

Yanina

says:

All About Spelling is a fantastic program. My family LOVES it. I enjoy your recent addition of the Tips and Tricks posters. They are interesting, appealing to the eye, and easily understood.

Jennifer

says:

I love the colorful visual. thanks!

Minda C.

says:

Thank you for the visuals! My son, and myself included, lean more toward being visual learners so these are a tremendous help!

DeAna B.

says:

Thank you for the useful tips!

I really like the visual for helping to teach plural endings. It’s difficult to not just teach, but to remember all of them and visuals come in really handy!

Charis

says:

I love the visual and would love to start presenting these to my oldest who is working on AAS level 4 this year.

Jeannine Firestenberg

says:

This is a really cool way to teach plurals. I love that it’s colorful and kid friendly. Thank you!

Jeniver

says:

Love these suggestions! Will be sure and funnel new ideas for when my child is ready for them.

Thanks!

Terri F

says:

I really like this! It’s a great visual for students and is very easy to understand. We have used All About Spelling for several years now, and I just love the systematic introduction of the concepts. It really works!

Bobbi Ward

says:

This program is easy to teach and the kids really enjoy it. I agree this would make a great poster, being presented as an ice cream cone……..the kids would love it!

Mary E

says:

I use these all the time with my students. I love the way you present them as the ice cream cone…what a great poster this would make!

Merry at AALP

says:

By the way, we do have these as posters now:

http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-rules-posters

Kassi Job

says:

I like the way this poster has all the rules in one place. Great graphic! :-)

Sandi W

says:

I would love a poster of this ‘plural rules’ graphic. Would be helpful to have in my school room. Thanks for a great program!

Nancy S.

says:

If it was possible to print out a small (8.5 x 11) poster of these graphics it would be great for my sons. Our magnetic white board with all the letter tiles is on the wall next to our table, and I could put the rules next to it.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Sandi and Nancy,

We do have these as posters now:

http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-rules-posters

Rachael Leah Harris

says:

What an awesome poster! I love how clearly and logically you lay everything out!

Christine Nadolny

says:

These are great rules! Need room posters and worksheets for them to practice and see!

angie

says:

I love this. I was just teaching my son these rules on my own but can’t wait to try this!

Rebecca

says:

This is cute :) Can’t wait to get here with the kids.

Char

says:

Love these graphics to help my kids remember the rules! I’ve always been a good speller, but had difficulty helping my boys learn spelling because I didn’t know how to put the rules into words (I just knew them intuitively). Learning the actual rules with All About Spelling has been eye-opening both for me and my sons, and is slowly taking away their fear of spelling. We love it!

Valerie

says:

We love how all about spelling teaches all the spelling rules needed to figure out words. It works great with the reading program too. My kids enjoy learning with these programs!

Lori

says:

My daughter has struggled for several years with spelling and reading. Since beginning AAS and AAR she has made amazing progress in a very short time! We love the multi-sensory approach.

Stacy Thompson

says:

I am going to have to print these out! they are awesome! my 15 year old can even benefit from them!

Kathy Wilber

says:

Oh my gosh, I can not stress enough how much I love the posters for the Kids Club Rule, The Floss Rule and Making Words Plural. Both my son and I are visual learners and they’re so appealing to the eye. Thanks so much for creating them :-)

Melissa Cherney

says:

What a coincidence! My 6 year old and I were just discussing the rules for making words plural, not even 3 hours ago! She saw 2 deer and said “deers”, so I told her that it was still “deer”, and we got into a discussion about the oddities and inconsistencies of plurals in English. Thanks so much for this list!

Deanna

says:

Cool! I would love that as a free printable “Hint Hint” ;) Really, that is a neat graphic.

Janice

says:

I love the graphic! It is really helpful to have all the rules together in one place.
The “end in o” words are the ones that tend to trip me up. I was taught the other spelling rules as a child, but I don’t think anyone ever explained the “o” rule to me as clearly as you stated it. This will really help my children. Thanks!

Pauline LeBouef

says:

I love the ice cream scoop! My daughter loves all about spelling!

Shamaey "May"

says:

Hi!
I work in Italy “the birth place of ice-cream” as a private English teacher. Some of my kiddos have been working on spelling. This ice-cream chart is well done and super clear! Thanks,

May

Sarah M

says:

This is a great visual for me and my kids! This tends to be a tricky rule for all ages. Thank you for putting them on pinterest too so I can reference them easily.

This still tricks me every now and than. I am going to have to bookmark this for helping me to remember!

Marilyn Fuqua

says:

I especially like the Ice cream cone for plurals. My only comment is when adding ES you didn’t include -TCH and -Z. Don’t know if that was an oversight or on purpose. Also in words ending in O, my understanding is that musical words ending in o use s whereas most other words ending in O use ES so it doesn’t create a closed syllable.
I like that you included irregular plurals and ones ending in f and fe. Susan Barton doesn’t deal with these.
I am a certified Barton tutor (and love it) and your program is very similar, which I like. I may try to incorporate your ice cream cone into my teaching when we deal with plurals. Can I get a copy of the visual? or does it come with one of the levels?
Because the Barton System is written for those with Dyslexia it is ordered in a more appropriate order for their learning. I like that you have put this together in an order which normal learning takes place. My daughter currently is using your program and likes it.
A job well done…thank you for all your hard work.

Merry

says:

Hi Marilyn,

Hm, I’m not sure how tch and z missed getting on there! But we do find it easier, especially for young students to go by sound than to memorize all of the letter combination, so the principle is still the same. If they hear “iz” when they add the plural (if it adds a syllable), use ES.

For words ending in O, we actually have a few tips in the series about how to decide whether to use just S or ES (and a “Make it Plural” booklet to work on just this concept). In addition to musical terms, we also note that Spanish words ending in O form the plural by adding S–broncos, armadillos, etc…

Unfortunately there are others that can still use just S–memos, autos…and even a few that are commonly spelled either way, such as volcanoes/volcanos!

We don’t have a PDF of the posters available, but do hope to make that available at some point.

AAR and AAS have helped a lot of students with dyslexia (the author’s son was diagnosed with severe dyslexia): http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about, so you will see similarities with other Orton-Gillingham-based programs.

So exciting that you are able to help students struggling with dyslexia!

Merry at AALP

says:

By the way, posters are available here:

http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-rules-posters

Renee

says:

This is a great tip. Thank you!

Jessica

says:

Was wondering why g says the hard sound in the word girl,and not the soft sound like in giraffe since its followed by an i? Is,this,a rule breaker?

Merry

says:

Hi Jessica,

Great question! About 90% of the time, G will say /j/ before an E, I, or Y. However, there are some common exceptions like “get” and “girl.”

Myra

says:

Great visual for all those rules! I like the reminder about respecting the child’s funnel too.

Brooks

says:

Good to have all the rules in one place. Thanks!

Michaela Cooper

says:

Fantastic to have all the rules in one spot to consult!

Shauna hall

says:

love it!!

Desiree

says:

I love these graphics. Do you offer these in a (small) poster form that we can purchase? I’d love to have these up somewhere when we are reviewing etc., and I think the colors really make it nice for the kids.

Merry

says:

Hi Desiree,

We don’t have posters of these unfortunately. We’ve had a number of requests for a printable version, so we’ll be looking at what we might be able to do in the next few months. I’ll email if we come up with something. Thanks for your interest!

Marie Prins

says:

Love the graphics! I will post them around my room so all my students can keep the rules in mind. Thanks!

Becky

says:

It looks much easier (and tasty) to have the rules organized this way!

Michelle

says:

What a wonderful ice cream cone visual for plurals!

Jennifer Mathesz

says:

Great Tips Thanks!

Rebecca Meservy

says:

What a great clear visual to remind us of the rules!

Heather

says:

Can you make this into a pdf so that we can print it?

Merry

says:

Hi Heather,

We don’t have posters of these unfortunately. We’ve had a number of requests for a printable version, so we’ll be looking at what we might be able to do in the next few months. I’ll email if we come up with something. Thanks for your interest!

S Suzuki

says:

I absolutely LOVE this program! My 10th grader is really learning to spell finally after trying about every other program available. He self-corrects as he writes, which means that he has internalized what he is supposed to be learning. Two more levels to go,but we started with level 1 last year just to make sure there were no gaps. All his little brothers and sisters will learn by this program (even ones who don’t struggle) because it is so logical and thorough! Thanks for such a wonderful product! (I love the All About Reading too! )

Stefanie

says:

Ice cream makes everything better. Even spelling rules.

Merry

says:

LOL, yes!

Heidi

says:

This is a great guide! I wish I could have had this as a kid. :)

Molly Ross

says:

These ice cream scoop rules really help break it down! Thank you!

Cassandra

says:

Wow! What an awesome idea! I can’t wait to try this with my child :)

Leah Williams

says:

What a cute idea! It would be great to put on a wall or in a notebook for reference.

Ayesha

says:

I love the presentation of the Y rule and so did the kids

Kristen

says:

I need this poster!! It helps me to see the rules in a visual way so I can then teach them. I am a natural speller so teaching spelling is quite difficult for me. This program is vital for my middle son!

Esther

says:

Will these work as a poster? I have a vision for a “classroom wall” so my kids can look at things over and over and get them in their heads.

Merry

says:

Hi Esther,

We don’t have posters of these unfortunately. We’ve had a number of requests for a printable version, so we’ll be looking at what we might be able to do in the next few months. I’ll email if we come up with something. Thanks for your interest!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Kirstin and Esther,

Check out the posters here:

http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-rules-posters

Carrie

says:

Thank you for these rules. My daughter really enjoys the program and is learning so much?

Grace Horst

says:

Love, love, LOVE learning these rules right along with my children!

Lisa

says:

Great tool!

Lori

says:

Love this graphic and the funnel analogy. Great things to think about.

Laura B

says:

I like the idea of my child’s mind as a funnel. It is important to offer information and experiences without overwhelming a child. I have just started AAR so I haven’t addressed spelling yet. I remember being confused as a student by some of the inconsistent rules I learned. I think I had memorized words before hearing the rules which sometimes made me doubt myself. Hopefully it will seem much clearer to me now.

Natalie

says:

The ice cream scoops helped ME! I always wondered about plurals of words ending in “o”! Now I know!

Cassy Brackett

says:

This looks like a great curriculum! How creative!

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