Phonics Rules
a, e, i, o, u
and sometimes y
are vowels. All
vowels have 2
sounds, a short
sound and long

Examples of some
words with short
vowel sounds
fat, pet, hid , not,
Add a silent e to
each of these
words and you get
words with long
vowel sounds,
fate, Pete, hide,
note, cute -   
Adding a silent e
on the end of  the
words changes the
short sounds to
the long sounds
Phonics Rules
Some letters have
two sounds. For
example c in cat and
city or g in goat and
The two vowels
ea can make any
of three sounds
compare the
ead - great -
The long o sound is
often spelled with
ow like in the word
ow or snow or
oa like in the
word t
oad or road.
The two vowels
ai together
make the long a
sound like in
ain, sail, paid
Sometimes eigh
spells the long a
sound like in
eight, weigh,
eigh, freight
The long i
sound can be
spelled with
like in cry or sky
or with igh like
in s
igh or light
Phonics means teaching reading by teaching rules for sounding
out words and despite many complications and exceptions to
rules it has been proven to be the most effective method of
teaching reading.

85% of the words in our language follow the rules
Some words do have to be memorized, as they do not follow the

The alphabet has 26 letters – they all have a name and at least
one sound.  

There are 44 sounds in our language and only 26 letters. So some
letters have more than one sound.

Sometimes letters are combined to make one sound and
sometimes one sound has more than one spelling.

There are two kinds of letters in the alphabet  -  vowels and

There are 5 letters that are vowels – a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y.
Vowels are open-mouthed voiced sounds. What does that mean?
It means that to make the sounds of the vowels you must have
your mouth open and you can feel your vocal cords move (voiced
means the vocal cords move).

All the vowels have 2 sounds called the long and the short sound.
The long sound of a vowel is the same as the name of the vowel,
for example a,
ape, e, Eden, i, ice, o, old, u, used.

Examples of the short sounds for each vowel are; (a, apple) (e,
elephant) (i, it) (o, ox) (u, umbrella)

The letters that are not vowels are consonants. Consonants are
sounds made by blocking the air with some part of the mouth,
lips, tongue, teeth or throat. Some consonants are voiced
meaning the vocal cords move.  You can put your hand on your
throat and feel vibration. An example of a voiced consonant is v.

Some consonants are not voiced, meaning the vocal cords do not
move. An example of a consonant that is not voiced is f. Many
people have trouble hearing the difference between sounds of
some of the consonants like p, b and sometimes d.

Many of the sounds in our language have more than one spelling
f - fat        or  ph - phone  The letter f and the letters ph are used to
spell the same sound.
c – city or s – sin     The letter c and the letter s are sometimes
used to spell the same sound.

Often two vowels are put together to make one sound for
example in the word eat or speed, ea and ee both spell the long e
sound. All the long vowel sounds can be spelled in a number of

Sometimes two or three letters are blended together to make one
sound. For example in the words
blend, cloth, speed or sprang.  
The sounds of
bl, cl and sp or spr blend together.

Sometimes two letters are put together to make a sound different
from either letter’s usual sound, like in the word phone p and h
together sound like f. In the word laugh, g and h also sound like f.

Perhaps all of this seems very complicated. It sort of is, but with
lots of practice it becomes automatic. Good readers often do not
even remember the rules, they just read. It is similar to learning to
play the piano. First you have to consciously learn where to put
your fingers for each note, but for a good piano player this
becomes automatic. However, it does take a lot of practice to
become a good piano player or a good reader.
Learning Joy Resources
Brief Introduction to Phonics