The sounds that make up the English language are:

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

Then there are the 18 Consonant Sounds (sounds of the letters other than vowels), but 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 are 2 or 3 letters combined to form a distinct spelling sound.  The blends sounds are:

  • -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

Suggested Reading

Help Them Learn to Read

Dolch sight words are a list of the 220 most frequently encountered words in children’s literature and are commonly used as a teaching tool for reading, writing and spelling. The list forms a good basis of common words for children to learn between the ages of 5 and 8.

Many of the 220 words in the Dolch list, can not be “sounded out”, and must be learned by sight. Dolch excluded nouns from his main list, but did compile a separate 95-word list of nouns.

Listed in the order of frequency:

the down blue yellow write under
to do red five always read
and can from six drink why
he could good walk once own
a when any two soon found
I did about or made wash
you what around before run slow
it so want eat gave hot
of see don’t again open because
in not how play has far
was were know who find live
said get right been only draw
his them put may us clean
that like too stop three grow
she one got off our best
for this take never better upon
on my where seven hold these
they would every eight buy sing
but me pretty cold funny together
had will jump today warm please
at yes green fly ate thank
him big four myself full wish
with went away round those many
up are old tell done shall
all come by much use laugh
look if their keep fast  
is now here give say  
her long saw work light  
there no call first pick  
some came after try hurt  
out ask well new pull  
as very think must cut  
be an ran start kind  
have over let black both  
go yours help white sit  
we its make ten which  
am ride going does fall  
then into sleep bring carry  
little just brown goes small  

Commonly misspelt words: 

accommodation, accidentally, allege, believe, changeable, definitely, embarrass, gauge, harass, heritage, hierachy, minuscule, Parliament, privilege, noticeable, mischievous, necessary, occurrence, rhythm, schedule, separate, supersede,  twelfth, vacuum, weird.