Why do we pronounce y’s with the short i sound in words like baby or property?

The Spalding Method teaches children to analyze the written spelling of words. Spelling has remained relatively constant over the years while pronunciations vary among geographical regions and countries. In the English spelling system, the letters y and i are used interchangeably, but letters y and e are not. For example, in the words gym, rhythm, system, we use y to represent the first (short) sound of i.

When teaching children to spell, pronouncing the word ba by (short i), helps them to write y, not e. Note that the accent is on the first syllable. When reading the word for speaking, you have a choice: have children pronounce the word as spoken in your region, or maintain the original pronunciation which is consistent with the spelling. Children have no problem with the difference. They understand that pronouncing words two ways helps them spell and read.