Sounds for Reading

Formerly "Short-A-Sound"
V01 /a/ average
V01 /a_e/ dance
V01 /ai/ plaid
V01 /au/ laugh

Formerly "Short-I-Sound"
V02 /i/ interesting
V02 /i_e/ give
V02 /e/ pretty
V02 /ee/ been
V02 /o/ women
V02 /u/ busy
V02 /ui/ build
V02 /y/ mystery

Formerly "Short-O-Sound"
V03 /o/ opposite
V03 /o_e/ gone
V03 /oa/ broad
V03 /ou/ cough
V03 /ough/ thought

Formerly "Short-U-Sound"
V04 /u/ understand
V04 /u_e/ pulse
V04 /e/ the
V04 /a/ what
V04 /ae/ aerobic
V04 /au_e/ 'cause (because)
V04 /o/ from
V04 /oe/ does
V04 /o_e/ love
V04 /o_ue/ tongue
V04 /ou/ touch

Formerly "Short-E-Sound"
V05 /e/ excellent
V05 /e_e/ edge
V05 /ea/ head
V05 /eo/ leopard
V05 /a/ any
V05 /ai/ said
V05 /ay/ says
V05 /ie/ friend
V05 /u/ bury
V05 /ue/ guess
V05 /ua/ guarantee

Formerly "Long-A-Sound"
V06 /a_e/ flake
V06 /a/ baby
V06 /ae/ aerial
V06 /ai/ nail
V06 /ai_e/ praise
V06 /aigh/ straight
V06 /ay/ stay
V06 /e_e/ where
V06 /ea/ great
V06 /ei/ vein
V06 /eigh/ eight
V06 /ey/ they

Formerly "Long-I-Sound"
V07 /i_e/ kite
V07 /i/ mind
V07 /ie/ pie
V07 /ia/ trial
V07 /igh/ sigh
V07 /oy/ coyote
V07 /ui_e/ guide
V07 /uy/ buy
V07 /eigh/ height
V07 /eye/ eye
V07 /ai_e/ aisle
V07 /y/ try
V07 /ye/ bye
V07 /y_e/ type

Formerly "Long-O-Sound"
V08 /o_e/ nose
V08 /o/ go
V08 /oe/ toe
V08 /oa/ load
V08 /oa_e/ hoarse
V08 /oo/ poor
V08 /ou/ your
V08 /ou_e/ course
V08 /ough/ though
V08 /ow/ own
V08 /eau/ beau
V08 /ew/ sew
V08 /a/ war

Formerly "Long-U-Sound"
C39+V09 /u_e/ cube
C39+V09 /u/ music
C39+V09 /eau/ beauty
C39+V09 /ew/ few

V09 /u_e/ tube
V09 /u/ gnu
V09 /ue/ blue
V09 /ui/ suit
V09 /ui_e/ juice
V09 /eu/ sleuth
V09 /ew/ chew
V09 /ieu/ lieutenant
V09 /o/ who
V09 /o_e/ move
V09 /oe/ shoe
V09 /oo/ zoo
V09 /oo_e/ goose
V09 /ou/ you
V09 /ou_e/ mousse
V09 /ough/ through

Formerly "Long-E-Sound"
V10 /ee/ speed
V10 /e/ we
V10 /e_e/ these
V10 /ea/ flea
V10 /ea_e/ weave
V10 /ei/ weird
V10 /eo/ people
V10 /ey/ key
V10 /ae/ aeon
V10 /i/ ski
V10 /ie/ field
V10 /ie_e/ siege
V10 /y/ any

V11 /a/ walk
V11 /a_e/ are
V11 /au/ auto
V11 /au_e/ sauce
V11 /augh/ taught
V11 /aw/ yawn
V11 /awe/ awe
V11 /e/ sergeant
V11 /ea/ heart
V11 /ua/ guard

V12 /u/ put
V12 /o/ woman
V12 /oo/ book
V12 /ou/ should

V13 /ow/ cow
V13 /ow_e/ drowse
V13 /ou/ out
V13 /ou_e/ house
V13 /ough/ bough

V14 /oy/ joy
V14 /oi/ oil
V14 /oi_e/ noise
V14 /uoy/ buoy

V15 /ir/ shirt
V15 /irr/ squirrel
V15 /or/ word
V15 /or_e/ worse
V15 /orr/ worry
V15 /our/ courage
V15 /our–e/ scourge
V15 /ur/ burn
V15 /ur_e/ purse
V15 /ure/ sure
V15 /urr/ hurry
V15 /uerr/ guerrilla
V15 /er/ her
V15 /er_e/ serve
V15 /ere/ were
V15 /ear/ learn
V15 /ear_e/ hearse
V15 /eur/ chauffeur
V15 /ar/ leopard
V15 /yr/ syrup

C39+V15 /ur/ fury
C39+V15 /ure/ pure

C16 /p/
pan, pick, pot, pup, pen
pair, pipe, poke, poop, peel
pawn, put, pound, point, purple
C16 /pp/ apple

C17 /b/
bat, bit, bought, bug, bet
bait, bite, boat, boot, beet
ball, book, bout, boy, bird
C17 /bb/ dribble

C18 /t/
tan, tick, top, touch, tell
take, tight, toad, tune, team
tall, took, town, toy, turn
C18 /tt/ little
C18 /ed/ packed

C19 /d/
dad, dip, dot, duck, den
day, die, door, due, deep
down, dirt
C19 /dd/ meddle
C19 /ed/ hugged
C19 /ld/ could

C20 /ch/
chat, chip, chocolate, chum, check
chain, chime, choke, choose, cheat
chalk, chow, chirp
C20 /tch/ match

C21 /j/
jam, jig, job, jug, jet
jade, joke, jewel, jeer
jaw, joust, joy, jerk
C21 /g/ page (Formerly "Soft-G-Sound")
C21 /dg/ edge

Formerly "Hard-C-Sound
C22 /k/
kin, keg
Kay, kite, key
C22 /c/
cap, cop, cup
cape, cone, cute
call, cook, clown, coy, curb
C22 /ck/
pack, pick, pock, puck, peck
C22 /ch/ chaos
C22 /lk/ walk
C22 /q/ barbeque

C22+C28 /x/
axe, fix, box, flux, flex

except, excel, excite

C22+C36 /qu/
quack, quit, quell
quake, quite, quote, queen
quall, squirt

Formerly "Hard-G-Sound"
C23 /g/
gap, give, gone, gull, get
game, guy, go, goop, geese
gall, good, gown, girl
C23 /gg/ wiggle
C23 /gh/ ghost

C23+C29 /x/ exact, examine, example

C24 /f/
fat, fin, fog, fuss, fed
fame, fire, fork, fume, feet
fall, foot, fowl, first
C24 /ff/ giraffe
C24 /gh/ cough
C24 /ph/ phone

C25 /v/
van, victor, volume, vent
vane, vie, vote, voodoo, vegan
vow, verb

C26 /th/
thank, thin, thought, thud, thread

C27 /th/
they, thy, though, thee

C28 /s/
sad, sick, sog, sun, sell
same, sign, soak, suit, seed
saw, soot, sound, soil, surf
C28 /ss/ messy
C28 /c/ ice (Formerly "Soft-C-Sound")

C29 /z/
zap, zit, zen
zane, zoo, zero
C29 /zz/ jazz
C29 /s/ kids
C29 /x/ xylophone

C30 /sh/
sham, ship, shot, shun, shell
shade, shy, show, shoe, she
shawl, should, shout, shirt
C30 /s/ sugar
C30 /ss/ issue, mission
C30 /sc/ conscious
C30 /sch/ schwa
C30 /t/ action
C30 /c/ ocean
C30 /ch/ chute
C30 /x/ anxious

C31 /s/ vision, measure

C32 /h/
have, hid, hot, hum, hell
hair, hide, hope, hoop, hear
ha!, hoof, how, hoist, hurt
C32 /wh/ who

C32+C36 /wh/
whip, what, when
where, why, wheel

C33 /m/
map, mitt, mock, mud, men
made, might, more, mood, meet
mall, mound, mirth
C33 /mm/ glimmer
C33 /mb/ dumb

C34 /n/
nap, nill, nod, nut, neck
name, night, nose, new, neat
naught, nook, now, noise, nerve
C34 /nn/ dinner
C34 /kn/ know
C34 /gn/ sign

C35 /ng/
sang, ring, long, hung
C35 /n/ bank, anxious, finger

C36 /w/
wag, win, won, well
wake, wide, wore, woo, week
wad, would, wow, work

C37 /l/
lap, lid, lock, love, let
late, like, load, loot, leap
law, look, loud, loyal, learn
C37 /ll/ silly

C38 /r/
rag, rip, rot, run, red
rage, ripe, roam, rude, read
raw, root, round, royal
C38 /rr/ berry
C38 /wr/ wrong

C39 /y/ yippeeeeeee!

©2008 Judy Ramirez
Thanks to Earl Eugene Roth, Jr., M.D. for editing and additional suggestions.

Lower Case

Lower Case
Click on map to print


Create a sound foundation early.
WordsAhead seeks to promote speech sounds for spelling mastery and author vocabulary for literature mastery.

Readiness preempts remediation; parse words-to-be-read ahead of time.

A public service of
Vibrant Learning Affiliates
501-c-3, EIN 91-1829949
WA alleges that "phonemic awareness" needs to be advanced to PHONEMIC ACUITY.

WA alleges that "phonics" ought be called SOUND-SPELLING; see *CloudSpelling*.

Sing Vowel Sounds

Sing Vowel Sounds
Vowel sounds and vowel sound-spellings are MOST IMPORTANT!


Have you heard: "Learn your vowels - A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y."

Vowels are NOT alphabet letters. Vowels are speech sounds.

Vowel Sounds are spelled-out with alphabet letters, including A-E-G-H-I-O-R-U-W-Y.


Articulate and spell-out each sound in this manner

Silent Letters?

WordsAhead alleges that there are no "silent" letters because letters don't make noises at all! Speech sounds make noises.
Letters represent both voiced and voiceless sounds, but none are silent.
Can you encode this message?

/C39-V09/ /C22-V01-C34/ /C17-V10/ /V06/

/C28-C16-V10-C20/ /C28-V13-C34-C19-C29/

/V05-C22-C28 • C16-V15-C18/

What's Unreliable?

If no single approach works if you use the best-of-the-rest:
1) Skipping and guessing (no instruction)
2) See-Say (sight word memory)
3) Alphabetic code (phonics)

A sound foundation works for learners of ALL ages!

Go figure...

WordsAhead is like nothing you've been taught or have been hired to teach, if you are a professional.

Whole language brought many excellent practices for enjoying literature, but the details of language often received incidental attention. Phonics curriculum teaches spelling patterns independent of the literature and rules for sounding-out ABCs often lack veracity. WordsAhead is unique in two ways: 1) Phonemic word study spells-out individual speech sounds with 100% reliability (this is a huge distinction) and 2) you'll teach pertinent words-to-be-read, ahead of time, to imprint brains for immediate actualization. Your learners will be ready – confident and competent – to grapple with the author's message.

Word Study

Word Study
[Systematic Evidence] is a huge database


Here are rhyming words-to-be-read from Senator Kennedy's book, My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C.:

V01 am-lamb-tram
V01 half-laugh
V02 in-grin-been
V03 lot-not-fought
V04 but-what
V04 swum-from-come-some
V05 led-head-said
V05 end-friend
V06 care-air-fair-where-their-they're
V06 a-day-say-way-stay-they
V07 nine-sign
V07 I-high-eye-by-my-try
V08 more-or-floor-Moore-your-war
V08 vote-boat-coat
V09 rule-school
V09 true-few-view-do-too-you-through
V10 she's-these
V12 good-stood-could
V12 foot-put
V15 her-fur-sure


TEACHERS:  Now that you know the 39 smallest sound-units of English, you can create word lists containing pertinent information, including student names, song lyrics, menu items, road signs, field trip keywords, etc.

And DEFINITELY study vocabulary across the curriculum – math, science, social studies, P.E., music, etc.

Master Teacher Roberta Skipwith

Sage Advice

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all. 
     Peter Drucker

Change is as difficult as it is important.  The goal is worth accomplishing, although the sacrifice to attain it may be confounding in its enormity.  You should realize the extraordinary reality of what is happening.
     I Ching

Don't major on the minors.
Easier sooner, harder later.
     Roberta Skipwith

Maintain strong boundaries while nurturing even the most troubled learner.
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North Coastal San Diego, California, United States
Speech sound-units can be heard, said, spelled... and read!