Understanding Phonograms

There are so many ways to teach reading, and that is a good thing since every learner is different! The best way that I have found to provide children with ALL of the resources and tools that they will need to become excellent readers, writers, and spellers is to focus on the Phonograms.

What is a Phonogram? I’m so glad you asked…

In the coming steps, I will go over all of the phonograms and provide fun ways to remember and practice them. I present this information as a loose guide in hopes that parents and teachers will be able to creatively apply it and inspire children to love learning. However, I know others prefer a more structured approach. So if you are looking for a more traditional curriculum, I recommend the following:

The Good and The Beautiful-Kindergarten

All About Learning Press

The Logic of English

But keep in mind that structured programs that keep you on a certain schedule tend to make learning seem like work. You will have to evaluate the effect that the structure of a traditional curriculum has on your child’s love for and interest in learning. These tools can be used in a way that still facilitates a love of learning– you just have to follow the lead of your child and not the instructions in the book!


There are many many spelling rules! Some are very common and some are very obscure and only govern a small body of words. For a full list see the classic Spalding rule list found HERE.

Here is a summary of what I find to be the most common/useful rules to know and teach.

    • CK is used at the end of syllables when preceded by a vowel that says its short sound (kick, back, tuck) [Step 3]
    • When a vowel is followed by one consonant and the vowel E, it usually says its name. This is sometimes referred to as the “magic E rule” (tape, cope, mute) [Step 5]
    • A, E, O, and U say their long sound at the end of a syllable (navy, baby, evil, be, go, music) [Step 5]
    • I and O can say their long sounds when followed by two consonants (kind, old) [Step 5]
    • Y says the long I sound (cry) at the end of one syllable words. Y says the long E sound at the end of multisyllabic words (baby) [Step 6]
    • C and G say their soft sounds when followed by E, I, or Y (city, cent, spicy, gentle, giraffe, gym) [Step 7]
    • English words do not end in U, V, J, or I (so we add silent Es to words like Blue and Give and use the phonogram ge and dge at the end of words that have j sounds as in judge, and George).


Next up is STEP 2: Consonants and Short Vowels -wherein you get to hear me sing! (brace yourself)