The five most important sounds to know are the short
vowel sounds. If you recognize them when you hear them, they give you a lot of
clues as to how to spell words.

The vowels are a, e, i, o and u.

A as in apple

E as in egg

I as in insect


O as in orange

U as in umbrella

Here is a little rhyme to help you remember them:

A, a, a, a – apple,
E, e, e, e – egg,
I, i, i, i – insect,
The short vowels we do say,
O, o, o, o – orange,
And u, u – umbrella, too.
Now I know my short vowel sounds,
I’ll say them all for
you.

Next, you need to practice saying each of the consonants
with the each vowel after it. Remember that these are sounds and not words, so
even if it spells a word, say the vowel with the short sound.

Like this:

Ba, be, bi, bo, bu

Ta, te, ti, to, tu

Fa, fe, fi, fo, fu

With the consonants c and g, only use a o and u. Don’t
use e and i, as they change the sound of the consonant.

 Write all the
combinations out on cards. Pick a card and say the sound. Are you sure you know
them all? Once you know them the next step is to add a letter after the sound.

Example: ba

Add a t, what does it say? Add a g, what does it say. Try
with other letters. See how many real words you can make.

Once you can do this you can spell all sorts of words.
Just say the word slowly and write every sound that you hear, in the order you
hear them.

Example: bag. Say b-a-g, and then write the sounds you
hear. You can even write some longer words, like desk and stop. In fact, you can
write most words that only have a short vowel sound.

Once you know your short vowel sounds really well, there
are all sorts of neat spelling tricks you can learn. 

When you are ready, check
out lesson 2 to discover some secrets!


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