Lessons in Phonics

The English language has 26 letters, not as many as some languages. We divide them into two groups, so we have 5 “vowels” and 21 “consonants”, but sometimes we use one of our consonants, the letter ‘y’ for a vowel, so then there are 6. Does that sound confusing?

If you know the famous English-teaching ‘ABC’ song then maybe you know that the last letter ‘z’ can sound two different ways, depending on what country the speaker’s English is from. Does that sound more confusing?

Also, if we use the old-school style of sounding out the five vowels – a, e, i, o ,u – they each have a long sound and a short sound. Back-in-the-day in the dictionaries they had the little marks over them to tell us which sound to use, a straight line meant long sound and a curved one meant short sound.


Straight line means long vowel Curved line means short vowel

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