Definitions of Terms Used
 "A phonogram is a letter or character used to
represent a particular sound." Phonograms are spoken
of as simple phonograms and as blended or
A phonogram represents a single sound. It
includes the consonants; the consonant digraphs as ch,
sh, wh, th, gh, ph, ng, ck, etc.; the vowels; the
diphthongs ow, ou, oy, oi; the vowel digraphs ai, ay,
ey, ei, ee, ei, etc.; and the vowel equivalents igh,
A sight word is a word that has been taught as a
whole. The word is recognized as a unit from the
mental picture which has been formed of it.
Work in phonics is an aid only to provide tools by
which the child may gain independence in reading. The
more skillful the pupil is in the use of these tools,
the more easily will he get the thought and feeling of
The written and printed words a child first meets in
learning to read are strange symbols to him. They mean
nothing until they are interpreted. This
interpretation is, at first, made by the teacher
1. Direct association of the object with its written
or printed name. For example, she writes the word
seed on the board and holds the object beside
the name. Later she writes the word, and, without
speaking the word, asks the pupils to show her what it
means. They say nothing, but point to the object or
the picture of it.
 2. Direct association of action with the phrases or
words, written or printed, that suggest it. For
example, the teacher writes the word clap on the
board, and interprets its meaning by clapping her hands
instead of by speaking the word.
3. Association of written or printed symbol with the
idea represented through the spoken word, a symbol
which we suppose the child to understand, since he has
heard words spoken for six years. This is the plan
especially recommended in this book.
So long as a child depends on his teacher to tell him
the words his eye does not at once recognize, just so
long he has not learned to read—to get
words—and through words, the thought and feeling
of the printed page.
For five years at least the child who enters the
primary school has acquired words through hearing them
spoken. Now he sees these words printed; and since our
language is in part spelled phonetically, the knowledge
of the sound values of the letters helps a child to
find out from the written word the spoken word with
which he is already familiar, and for which the written
word, in a measure, stands.
To be sure, this finding out for himself each new word
is a slower way of getting the thought from a sentence
than being told by the teacher or classmate,
but, while speed in reading is without doubt an
end to be desired and worked for, it is not the first
one to be accomplished. It is only by attaining
independent power in word-recognition that learners
How shall we teach the children to use the sound values
of the letters as a means of making them independent in
reading? The following outline is suggested as one of
the many possible ways of getting at the essentials
with a small amount of "red tape" and no "padding."
 What Shall We Aim at? By the end of the first
six months in school we want pupils who meet new words
on the pages of their first readers to attack them at
once by thinking in order the phonic elements and then
blending these elements into the word. But that they
may do this, preparation and drill like the following
are needed, at first not at all in connection with the
reading lesson proper.
Training pupils to be attentive to sound. Tap
the bell or a glass with a pencil. Pupils to note the
sound. Tap another object. Pupils note the sound.
Tape them again. Have pupils note the difference in
the sounds. Pupils close their eyes. Teacher taps one
or the other of the objects already tapped. Pupils
called upon to tell what was sounded. Test with three
sounds, with four sounds, with sounds quite similar.
Vary exercise by having a pupil do the tapping, other
pupils to name the sound.
Slow pronunciation. After the first story is
completed, several times each day, the teacher should
accustom the ears of the children to hearing words
analyzed into their component parts as suggested in the
outlined phonic drills. Now that sounds dry, dead and
uninteresting, but the actual doing of it should
be lively, quick, and often even merry. Time and
energy are both saved when lively interest reduces the
necessity for drill to a minimum.
1. Testing and varying. She writes red
upon the board, a word they know well. The children
pronounce it. She erases r. "What has gone?"
she asks. "What is left?" Then she writes b in
the place where r stood. "Who can find out the
word? Letís sound it and see what it says." Children
sound b-ed and pronounce bed. This drill
may begin with the first series taught and may be
rapidly extended as the various series are brought into
 2. Dictation. The teacher at another time may
dictate to the children, to write for themselves,
simple words made up from the elements with which they
are very familiar and have them written in the air and
on the board many times. These words should not be
those they know at sight, or the joy of creating will
be lost in the effort to recall a hazy image from
memory. Such words as
me, no, so, are enough to test the powers of the
children at first, and the teacher must speak them
slowly and plainly. Each child should do this work
correctly, and, after writing from dictation, should go
back over his list of words and pronounce it, before
the lesson ends, either alone, or in concert with
After the first story has been read, these kinds of
drill for fixing phonic values in the memory are going
on daily, at a time removed from the regular reading
lesson, which concerns itself so far with words,
sentences and stories. But when the children can read
a number of pages from the "Primer" readily, the
teacher begins to connect the work in phonics with the
reading. A new word is to be taught, in connection
with picture, story, or nature lesson, for example the
word rabbit. "I know," she says, "that you
havenít seen me write this word before, but perhaps you
can find it out and whisper it to me." And from this
point she pushes and leads and guides and encourages
the children to find out things for themselves. It
needs patience and persistence, but it is well worth
the while. Two rules are needed here for the teacher.
a. Very rarely do for the children the thing they can
do for themselves.
b. Still more rarely ask them to do a thing they have
no preparation for doing.
3. A Guessing game. Here the teacher may
introduce a game. "I am thinking of a word I want you
 Iíll give you a hint. It begins like this," and she
gives the sound of the letter m. If the
children are slow to get the hint and guess at random,
she suggests, "It might be mine, men or me, but
it is none of those—yet it begins as they do.
Listen!—m—" and the children try
Have drills, bright and quick and
short, but frequent. Encourage each child to
use all the knowledge and power he has in finding out a
sentence for himself, but be responsible for furnishing
him the needed power and knowledge beforehand.
do not let children lose what has once been learned,
but remember that a thing has not been learned with one
or two presentations—often not with many
presentations. Do not hesitate to repeat, at first for
accuracy, to be sure the symbol is associated
with the right sound, and then for speed in
making that association.
Make the children delight in independence, in finding
out for themselves, and so find an early joy in
By the time the children have finished the "Primer,"
they not only have a considerable list of words
recognized at sight, but are not afraid to meet those
they have never seen before, for they know they can
find them out by the help of phonics and the context of
Reading should by this time have become a pleasure.
The fun of finding out what a page says, and then
lingering over and "tasting" the thoughts expressed
appeals to all normally constituted children, unless
the thought is unworthy, or the habit of independent
reading poorly taught from the beginning. Worthless
material destroys the motive and kills the joy of
learning to read.
Kinds of Lessons
 1. Study lessons with the teachers in class time.
2. Seat work based upon the story previously read with
3. Silent reading based upon vocabulary and thought
used in the "Primer," but changing order of words and
4. Oral lessons in reading for fluency, natural
5. Lessons for quickening the pace, without mentioning
speed to the pupil, in reading familiar material.
This idea of speed in early reading may be
misunderstood. The aim is to avoid hesitation and
drawling. There is an equal danger that, as pupils
gain in freedom, they will fail in grouping, so
essential to interpretation and expression.
In all of these, use is made of phonics and word
drills, though most emphasis is placed upon the thought
content and its expression in sentences.
When children are ready to begin the First Reader they
should have the ability to get many new words
By the end of the First Grade pupils should have had
drills in 80 phonic series and should have power to use
the phonic knowledge gained.
EXPLANATION OF PHONIC DRILLS
In the foregoing pages, from time to time, suggestions
have been made as to the time, place, and manner of the
phonic drills. It is believed, however, that the
summary which follows will be of distinct service to
There need be no phonic work with the first story, but,
after its completion, the drill with consonant elements
should begin and the phonic lessons should occur daily
thereafter, through at least the first two grades.
 While reading the second story, the consonant work
should be on r in red, h in hen, p
in pig, and l in little.
While the children are reading the third story, the
consonant drill is on n in not, d in
dog, y in you, and c in
cat. Here drill in the phonic series should
begin, and four of these should be done while reading
With the fourth story, the consonant lessons are with
m in man, s in so, b in
but, and th in then. At the same
time there should be drill in the phonic series from 5
to 8, inclusive.
The consonant work while reading the fifth story is
with f in fox, t in to, g in
get, and k in kill. Phonic series
from 9 to 12, inclusive, should receive regular drill.
During the reading of the sixth story, the phonic drill
will be with cr in cry, wh in why,
and qu in quench. Add phonic series from
13 to 16, inclusive, with reviews of former series.
The consonant drills with the seventh story will be
with ch in chicken, sn in snout,
and sk in sky. Add to these a thorough
review in all phonic series already taught.
While reading the eighth and ninth stories, the
consonant work will be with gr in gruff,
th in thank, and tr in trip.
Complete the series from 17 to 20 inclusive, and give a
thorough review of all previous phonic drills,
including the phonic series to 20. When this is done,
the consonant elements will have been mastered. It
will be noticed that the consonant elements are taught
from words that have been taught in a former story.
When the Primer is completed, there should have been
thorough drill, also on twenty of the phonic series.
Let it be remembered that these phonic drills should be
short but frequent. In some schools these drills are
given fro from two to five minutes at a time, two or
three times a day, conditions varying with the size of
the class and the
 time at the disposal of the teacher. The phonic work,
whether the teacher uses the book in the beginning or
later, should be given as indicated.
The phonic lessons to be given with the work of the
first reader should cover sixty additional phonic
series, making 80 in all to the end of the first year.
The remaining 120 series involve more difficulty and
may require more careful drill. If they are not
completed by the end of the second year, they may go
over into third year work. But most teachers will
experience little difficulty in including all of them
in the second yearís work.
Arrangement of the Series
In the series from 1 to 33, inclusive, the short sounds
of the vowels are taught. No consonant is at any time
required which has not been already taught from sight
Next come the series teaching the long sounds of the
vowels. These include series 34 to 62.
In the reviews of these series it will be noticed, that
the first word of each series is used. All the words
of the reviews are given as wholes and, in the review
drills, no word should be separated into its elements,
unless pupils fail to recognize it as a whole.
In the first 33 series it should be observed that when
a vowel is followed by a single consonant, the vowel
has the short sound. This may be shown to children
but, in on case should this or any other rule be taught
formally in the first two years. It may be suggested
here that, because our language is not phonetic, few
rules can be made to which there may not be exceptions.
But the rules herein suggested are sufficiently general
in their application to afford great aid in word
mastery. The exceptions to the rules, in most cases,
may well await the greater maturity of children.
 In teaching the long vowels, it may be shown that, if
two vowels have a single consonant between them the
first vowel is long and the final vowel is silent.
In all of the series to 81 the soft sound of s
is used, but in this series is introduced the hard or
z sound of this element.
From series 62 to 94, two consonants follow the same
vowel. If these have the same values, but one of them
In series 68 and 69, show that when a consonant is
doubled, but one is sounded.
In series 82, blended consonants are introduced. A few
of these have been used in previous drills, but they
have heretofore occurred in sight words—words
already known to the children. These blends are used
first, as initial phonograms and then as final
In series 87 may be shown that t is silent
before ch. From series 95 to 120, other
consonant combinations are used both as initial and
final phonograms. IN all of these exercises, the
pupils should be practiced in blending so that the
consonants blended may form a single sound.
Series 121 to 123 introduces the three sounds of
In series 124 to 128, inclusive, ai and
ay are shown to equal long a; and from
this time forward, other equivalents are used in the
series. Not all equivalents are here used, but it is
believed that those omitted, for the most part will
offer little difficulty after a thorough drill with
those here given. In some of the equivalents not here
given as well as in some of the peculiar and difficult
sounds of certain vowels, a discrimination is required
that is beyond the ability of children in first and
From series 129 to 138, ea equals long e.
From 139 to 145 ee equals long e. In
146, ie equals long i. From 147 to 150,
oa equals long o, and 152 shows ue
equal to long u.
 In 153 and 154, i is long when followed by
ld, nd, or gh. Series 156 shows o
long in some other combinations. Series 157 to 159
give drills with ow, and from 160 to 165,
ou is shown to equal ow, and in 167
ou is equal to long o.
In series 168, final er is shown. This list may
be used, also, to show plurals by adding s.
Series 169 and 170 use the ing termination.
In 171, gn equals n; in 172, kn
equals n; in 173, wr equals r; in
174, gu equals g; in 175, bu
equals b; in 176, bt equals t, and
177 shows mb equal to m.
Series 178 and 179 show that when one consonant is used
between two vowels, the first vowel is long, and that
when two consonants are so used, the first vowel is
From series 181 to 200 are taught the following
equivalents: ea equals short e, ea equals
long a, cd equals t, ci equals long a,
ie equals long e, eigh equals long a,
cy equals long a. Also oo is taught
in both values. Series 191shows that when r is
used before u the vowel is long. Also, u
is equal to oo short, oi equals oy,
g equals j before e, i and y,
c is equal to soft s when used before i,
e and y, dj equals j, ph equals
f and gh equals f.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics