New Phonics Rules End Frustration

New phonics rules are just one more "latest" thing you can live without . . . unless they cure something serious. As a phonics proponent I would like to say :


Fellow Parents,

we have

a problem”



Frustrating problem: “. . .about half the words in the English language cannot be pronounced correctly using common-ly taught phonic rules. “ These common rules simply match letters to sounds.  source link


Two major studies show: that letter position (how a letter is used)  is a better indicator of actual letter sound than letters alone.


Solution add letter position to basic phonics rules: About 95 out of 100 words in the English language can be pronounced correctly with uncommon phonics that include letter position.  These uncommon rules match letters  plus letter position to sounds.


Guess who's programs and worksheets uses the uncommon rules?

Ours ! :)


Free Printable Phonics Worksheets

Purchase Reading Program


What is letter position? “Letter position” includes:

  • where a letter is used in a word - ie. Is it the first letter?, Is it the last letter?
  • nearby letters that effect sound
  • word length

Where did “letter position” come from? The idea of letter use appears in two studies: Hannah, 1966 and Abbott, 2000. Both concluded: letter use is a better indicator of actual letter sound than letters alone.


If it’s such a great improvement why doesn't every reading program use it? Researchers demonstrated a way to improve phonics accuracy. Leg work to make this improvement happen was still a wide open field.

Our work wrote specific rules that Hannah and Abbot researched in general terms. We did this first for our own children.

In fact, we found letter use in the studies after we made English Decoder Phonics. The idea of order in language was a basic assumption for us. The studies showed that we were really on to something.

Our Resources Go Beyond Better Phonics Rules

Our small bunch of worksheets and complete reading program  fit different ways readers organize information. Our phonics resources use the uncommon phonics rules these two ways:


1. By marking letter use. (SI worksheets)
click for example


2. By explaining rules of letter use. (English Decoder worksheets and reading program)
click for example


Which type to use?

If a student tends to pick up patterns on their own, then SI will speed up his or her progress.

Young Readers I would start on SI are:

  • musical,
  • very talkative,
  • good listeners who remembers details or
  • have good rhythm.

***If you are working with someone who has little or no patience for phonics, start with SI just because it is obviously shorter at first glance.

If a child is a mechanical learner SI alone will likely not be enough. Read more in the Progress Report articles.

"Are We Starving The Minds Of Our Most Scientific Children" and

"Neuro-Research Confirms: Scientific Minds Fare Worse"


Young Readers Who Should Start With English Decoder:

  • are very mechanically minded
  • can hit or catch a ball early,
  • ride a bike early,
  • otherwise demonstrate good balance and hand-eye coordination (not that they want to use it for writing : )
  • can fix things and want to understand how parts fit together or
  • want to understand how events and plans will follow one another

English Decoder can adapt to both styles of learner.

***The difference between formats and the students who use them is a matter of organizing information. Neither method means more intelligence or learning potential.


Not ready for worksheets? Get Free Get Ready For English Decoder Preschool Printables

Read about standard phonics rules in what is phonics?

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