1-1-1 Spelling Rules: “Sammy” -ss, -ll, -ff, -zz

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

The S-L-F-Z Doubling Rule which sometimes is referred to as the 1-1-1 Rule or Sammy rule, helps students determine when to double the final consonant in a word. Whether you are using Zoe Loves Fried Spaghetti or Sammy Loves Friendly Zebras as the acronym,  you are trying to help students remember which letters are doubled at the end of words. 

Students should use the below criteria when deciding if the last letter needs to be doubled:

  1. Is it a one-syllable word?
  2. Does it have a single short vowel?
  3. Does it end in s-l-f or z?

If a student answers ‘yes’ to all 3 questions, then the final letter should most likely get doubled. 

A great way to practice is to ask students about various words and decide if it meets the criteria. For example: 

  • “Bet? Why or why not?” Answer: Does not end in s, l, f, or z.
  • “Tonsil?  Why or why not?”  Answer: Ends in “l” but is a two-syllable word.
  • “What about miss? Why or why not?” Answer: This is a one-syllable, has one short vowel, and ends in an “s.” The final consonant “s” needs to be doubled to spell miss. 

What about words such as bus, pal, gal, of, has, was, etc? We consider these words to be Red Words and should be taught through a multi-sensory technique which we call armtapping. Research why these are irregular by looking them up on www.etymonline.com