Starting Line: The Phonics of Vowels

Tada! Here is the long awaited first posting to get you started on your journey to learning everything! Via Reading of course.

I will break today’s posts about the single letters (a-z) into two different sections: Vowels and Constants. That is because both of these types of letters behave in very different ways, and so it should help to group them according to similarities.

Note: All spelling rules (when there are any) are in Green: most of these vowel sounds depend on the consonants, so we shall cover those sounds as we go over letter combinations.  Also, most of the time when two vowels are side-by-side (or separated by only one consonant) the first vowel says its name. 

Vowels: these tricksy little letters really are the headache of all single letters. Good news, there are only 5 official ones. Bad news, vowels tend to have many unobvious pronunciations that will take time to learn. Please note that when I put the letter by itself in quote marks that is pronounced the sameway as the name of the letter. Ex: “u” is just plain u.

A: Has four sounds (is generally “muffled sounding” when in an unstressed syllable)

  • Harsha-” as in: am, apple, dad
  • a” as in: April, table
  • Softah” as in: water, father
  • Shorte” as in: any, many (only these two words)

E: Has four sounds (is generally “muffled sounding” when in an unstressed syllable)

  • Harsh “e” as in: egg, bell, confess
  • e” as in: she, elect
  • Silent “e” as in: force (e is normally silent at the end of a word)
  • Short “i” as in: pretty, English (only these words)

I: Has four sounds (always pronounced clearly)

  • Harsh “i” as in: ill, big, city
  • i” as in: I, white
  • Long “i” followed by a silent consonant as in: island, indict, viscount (only these words)
  • Silent “i” as in: business (only this word)

O: Has four sounds (frequently muffled in unstressed syllables)

  • Harsh “o” as in: fox, hot, soft
  • o” as in: open, so, holy
  • Long “oo” as in: to, move, who
  • “w” sound before a short “u” as in: once, one (only these words, and any combination word with these in it)

U: Has six sounds (muffled when unstressed)

  • Harsh “u” as in: duck, up, fun
  • “u” as in: unit, use, music
  • Soft “u” as in: full, put, bush
  • Short “i” as in: busy
  • Short “e” as in: bury (just this word)
  • Long “oo” as in: truth (just this word)
  • After the letter “g” the “u” is silent only if follower by e, i, or y in order to make a Harsh “g” as in: guest, guy

And that is the end of the vowels.

If you really want to get good at these, go and get a stack of 3×5 note cards and start using one note card per letter (or letter combination, we’ll get to those later). In the end you will have 73 of these little handy cards.

Next up: Part 2! Consonants

This here link is a PowerPoint presentation that I made with audio. Unfortunately it is only a download (i.e. cannot just play it in the post). Phonics- Vowels

Looks like I’m back to the drawing board for videos…


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