January 21, 2011

The Five Must-Know Phonetic Skills

Tags: Teaching Reading Tips


Did you know there are rules that govern whether a vowel will be pronounced short or long? It doesn't have to be guesswork for your students.

Memorizing and using these five skills is an indispensable tool and reading strategy used in explicit phonics instruction to decode, pronounce, and spell one-syllable words.

The Five Phonetic Skills are:

  • Phonetic Skill #1: When one consonant and nothing more follows the vowel, the vowel will be short.
  • Phonetic Skill #2: When the vowel is followed by two consonants and nothing more, the vowel will be short.
  • Phonetic Skill #3: When a vowel stands alone, it will be long.
  • Phonetic Skill #4: When a word ends with a Silent E the first vowel will be long.
  • Phonetic Skill #5: When vowels are adjacent, the second vowel is silent, and the first vowel is long.

Note: There are exceptions to these rules. These rules apply to the majority of English words but there are words that do not follow these rules. Because these rules apply to the majority of words, they are a helpful tool for beginning readers, struggling readers, and English Language Learners. These rules are based on the Reading Horizons instructional method.

Check out our free early reading skills resources.


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Lucia said

That's really useful.
I would only suggest some examples to go along with the phonetic skills

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Sherlyn said

Examples please. I understand all others excepting #3. So for others who may need examples
#1 is words like bag, bin, net, nun, not.
#2 are words like talk, felt, wilt, bull, miss.
#4 are words like came, note, Pete,wine, and
#5 are words like each, plea, receive, pay. .

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Helen said

Rule #3- I, A, and Me (consonant, vowel) Vowel is long in Me because we only pay attention to the consonants after the vowel not before.

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Paula said

Sherlyn, #3 is when you have a word that has an open syllable at the end, which means there is no consonant guardian, the vowel says its name. Examples are: go, no, so. Exceptions: do, to.

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