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The 44 Sounds in English Language

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When considering a spelling program and how to best help children learn the sounds of the English language. Remember to choose words that help them understand all of the 44 sounds. (19 vowel sounds including 5 long vowels, 5 short vowels, 3 dipthongs, 2 'oo' sounds, 4 'r' controlled vowel sounds and 25 consonant sounds).

The following lists provides you with sample words to teach the sounds in the English language.

The 5 Short Vowel Sounds

  • short -a- in and, as, after
  • short -e- in pen, hen, lend
  • short -i- in it, in
  • short -o- in top, hop
  • short -u- in under, cup
The 6 Long Vowel Sounds
  • long -a- in make, take
  • long -e- in beet, feet
  • long -i- in tie, lie
  • long -o- in coat, toe
  • long -u- (yoo) in rule
  • long -oo- in few, blue
The R-Controlled Vowel Sounds
  • -ur- in her, bird, and hurt
  • -ar- in bark, dark
  • -or- in fork, pork, stork
The 18 Consonant Sounds
c, q and x are missing as they are found in other sounds. (The C sound is found in the k sounds and in the s sound in words like cereal, city and cent. The Q sound is found in 'kw' words like backwards and Kwanza. The X sound is also found in ks words like kicks.)The Blends
Blends are 2 or 3 letters combined to form a distinct spelling sound.
The blends sounds:
  • -bl- in blue and black
  • -c- in clap and close
  • -fl- in fly and flip
  • -gl- in glue and glove
  • -pl- in play and please
  • -br- in brown and break
  • -cr- in cry and crust
  • -dr- in dry and drag
  • -fr- in fry and freeze
  • -gr- in great and grand
  • -pr- in prize and prank
  • -tr- in tree and try
  • -sk- in skate and sky
  • -sl- in slip and slap
  • -sp- in spot and speed
  • -st- in street and stop
  • -sw- in sweet and sweater
  • -spr- in spray and spring
  • -str- in stripe and strap
The 7 Digraph Sounds
  • -ch- in chin and ouch
  • -sh- in ship and push
  • -th- in thing
  • -th- in this
  • -wh- in when
  • -ng- in ring
  • -nk- in rink
The Other Special Sounds Including Dipthongs
  • -oi- in foil and toy
  • -ow- in owl and ouch
  • short -oo- in took and pull
  • -aw- in raw and haul
  • -zh- in vision

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