ABC letters with smiley face

Learning English Spellings through Phonics

English spellings can be confusing to learn. Given that English has a non-ideal phonemic orthography, the pronunciation and the spelling do not have a one-to-one relation also. Why are put and cut pronounced differently, even though they have the same vowel? This is one of the few common questions that arise in a learner’s mind while learning English spellings.

One effective method to minimise this confusion is Phonics. Phonics provides a systematic way to learn sounds and correlate them to letters and letter combinations. When learned systematically in the early stages, Phonics can be a boon to decode English spellings.

In the NumberNagar® phonics method, we use a system of learning phonograms and their sounds.

A phonogram is a letter or a group of letters that represent a specific sound.
letter a – sound /a/ – baby
letter c – sound /k/ – cat
letter c – sound /s/ – city
group of letters ‘ea’ – sound /e/ – head
Phonogram definition
What is a phonogram?

The long a sound

There are two ways to learn the correlation between a phonogram and a sound.

One – choose a phonogram and learn all the sounds that map to it

Two – choose a sound and learn all the phonograms mapped to it

We have explored the first way in our earlier articles covering the sounds of letter a, and the sounds of letter s.

In this article let us learn something about the second way.

For this purpose, we have chosen the long a sound –     eɪ (IPA)                        ā (AHD)

The long a sound has seven spelling variations as listed below.

Spelling 1

a – snake, cake, bake, bare, care

Long a – spelling 1

Spelling 2

ai – paint, snail, trail, saint

Long a – spelling 2

Spelling 3

ay – hay, bay, pray, sway

Long a – spelling 3

Spelling 4

ea – great, break, steak

Long a – spelling 4

Spelling 5

ei – vein, rein, veil, beige

Long a – spelling 5

Spelling 6

eigh – eight, weigh, weight

Long a – spelling 6

Spelling 7

ey – grey, prey, they, obey

Long a – spelling 7

When we learn the sound and phonogram correlations in a systematic manner, learning English spellings becomes easier.

We have used this approach extensively with students at NumberNagar® and have seen the phenomenal impact in the learning experience.

Can you think of other spelling variations for the long ‘a’ sound? Find them and write to us in the comments section.

Until next time, Happy Holidays!


All the articles related to Phonics on our blog can be found here.


Phonics Kit

Have you explored the NumberNagar® Phonics Kit yet? It is the perfect gift for children in your family and friends’ circles. This holiday season order your kit and gift a child the joy of learning. Check out what our customers are saying about the Phonics Kit.

Featured Image credits: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The following two tabs change content below.

Dr. Soumya Sreehari

Co-Founder and Specialist at NumberNagar®
Dr. Soumya is an Educator and Researcher with a passion for reading, writing and teaching. She holds a PhD in Chemistry (Michigan Technological University, Houghton, USA). Her experience as a student and a teacher in two countries led her to pursue a career in Education. Her core work at NumberNagar® involves quality delivery of product and services at every stage of the customer life cycle. She leads the team that makes this happen. Previously she has taught Chemistry to first year undergraduate students at Michigan Technological University. She is a voracious reader and challenges herself to read 50 books every year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *