What Are Phonograms?

Phonograms are the most foundational element to learning to read and spell. The 70 basic phonograms described by Dr. Orton are the most basic elements of written English. A phonogram literally is a picture of a sound. Each letter or combination of letters represents one or more sounds in English. Knowing the phonograms is key to learning to decode written English.

Since English is comprised of 45 sounds, the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet are inadequate to describe these sounds. Therefore, additional multi-letter phonograms are used to account for sounds such as /ch/, /ow/, /th/, and /oi/. Knowing the written representations of each sound is essential to learning to read and spell. In addition, English is a complex language; 27 of the phonograms represent more than one sound. It is vital to teach all the sounds of each phonogram so that students know all the sounds made by each. This prevents students from needing to treat countless words as sight words and provides a more accurate description of the language.

Logic of English® materials teach students the 74 basic phonograms and 31 spelling rules they need to decode 98% of English words. Research demonstrates that when taught this information about how written English works in a multi-sensory, systematic manner, all students can learn to read and write successfully!

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