Rule 1 (sooky-la-la)- The letter q is always followed by u and together they say ‘kw’ (queen). So we call the q ‘sooky-la-la’ because it can’t live without u!

Rule 2 (c) – The letter c before e, i or y says its second sound ‘s’ (cent, city, cycle), but followed by any other letter says ‘k’ (cat, cot, cut).

Rule 3 (g) – The letter g before e, i or y may says its second sound ‘j ’ (page, giant, gym), but followed by any other letter says its first sound ‘g’ (gate, go, gust). The letters e and i following g do not always make the g say ‘j ’ (get, girl, give).

Rule 4 (a, e, o u) – The vowels a, e, o, u usually say their second sound at the end of a syllable (na vy, me, o pen, mu sic).

Rule 5 (i and y) – The letters i and y usually say the letter i’s first sound (big, gym), but may say the second sound ‘ī’ (si lent, my, type).


Rule 6 – The letter y, not i, is used at the end of an English word (my).


Rule 7 – Secret Agent Silent Final ‘e’ (SFE)

Job 1. In the word ‘time’ SFE is jumping over the m to make i say its second sound. (t i m e r. 7)

Job 2. In the word ‘have’ SFE is stopping the v from being at the end of a word (the same for words ending

with u, like blue). (h a v e r. 7)


Job 3. In the word ‘chance’ SFE is making the c say its second sound ‘s’ (the same for words ending in with

‘g’, like charge). (c h a n c er. 7)


Job 4. In the word ‘lit tle’ SFE is there because every syllable must have a vowel. (lit tle r. 7)


Job 5. In the word ‘are’ SFE is there for no good reason! The SFE is an impostor and doesn’t really have any

job to do! (a r e 5 r. 7)

Rule 8 (wor) – There are five spellings for the sound er (ur, ir, er, ear, wor). The phonogram or may say er when it follows w (work).

Rule 9 (1.1.1) – For 1-syllable words that have 1 vowel, followed by 1 consonant (hop), double the final consonant (hop + ped) before adding endings that begin with a vowel. [Exception – does not apply to words ending in w, x or y].

Rule 10 (2.1.1) – In a 2-syllable word, if the accent (where we clearly pronounce each phonogram in the syllable, without shortening it when we say the word aloud) is on the 2nd syllable and that syllable has 1 vowel followed by 1 consonant, double the final consonant and add the vowel ending (for get = for get ting).

[Exceptions – does not apply to words ending in w, x or y AND if the syllable ends in an ‘l’, double the ‘l’

regardless of the accent, e.g. mod el = mod el ling]


Rule 11 (SFE endings) – Words ending with a silent final e (come) are written without the e when adding an ending that begins with a vowel.

Rule 12 ‘ie’ or ‘ei’ – usually use ‘ie’, but use ‘ei’ after c, if: it’s making the sound ‘ay’, or it’s on the list of exceptions [List of exceptions: weird, either, neither, seize, foreign, forfeit, protein, caffeine].

Rule 13 (sh) – The phonogram sh is used at the beginning or end of a base word (she, dish), at the end of a syllable (fin ish), but NEVER at the beginning of a syllable after the first one – EXCEPT for the ending ship (wor ship, friend ship).

Rule 14 (ti, si, ci) – The phonograms ti, si and ci are used most commonly to say ‘sh’ at the beginning of a second or following syllable in a base word (na tion, ses sion, fa cial).


Rule 15 (si) – The phonogram si is used to say ‘sh’ when the syllable before it ends in an s (ses sion) OR when the base word has an s where the base word changes when adding an ending (tense → ten sion).

Rule 16 (si) – The phonogram si may also say ‘zh’, as in vi sion.

Rule 17 (fszl gang)– We often double f, s, z and l if they come after a vowel at the end of a one-syllable word (will, off, miss, buzz). This rule sometimes applies to two-syllable words like re cess.

Rule 18 (ay) – We often use ay, as in play, at the end of a base word. We never use it on its own for the word a and we never use ‘ai’ at the end of a base word!

Rule 19 (i and o) – The vowels o and i may say their 2nd sound (own, find) when followed by two consonants.

Rule 20 (x) – The letter s NEVER follows x. The phonogram x includes an ‘s’ sound (x = ks).

Rule 21 (al- as a beginning)All, written alone, has two l’s, but when written with another syllable only one l is written (al so, al most).

Rule 22 (-til and -ful as endings)- Till and full, written alone, have two l’s, but when written with another syllable only one l is written (un til, beau ti ful).

Rule 23 (dge) – The phonogram dge may be used at the end of a word after a vowel saying its first sound (badge, edge, bridge, lodge, budge).

Rule 24 (adding endings to words ending in ‘y’) – When adding a vowel ending to a word that ends with a consonant and then y, use i instead of y (ba by = ba bies, try = tries) – unless the ending is -ing.

Rule 25 (ck) – The phonogram ck may be used at the end of a word or the end of a first syllable, after a vowel saying its first sound (clock, chick en, lick, luck).

Rule 26 (capitals) – Words that are the names or titles of people, places, books, days, or months must begin with a capital letter (Mary, Victoria, Monday).

Rule 27 (s or z) – Words beginning with the sound ‘z’ are always spelled with z, never s (zoo).

Rule 28 (ed) – The phonogram ed has three sounds (‘ed’, ‘d’, ‘t’) and is used to form the past tense of verbs.


• If the verb ends in the sound ‘d’ or ‘t’, adding ed makes another syllable that says ‘ed’ (hand ed, land ed)

• If the verb ends in an unvoiced consonant [i.e., when you say it you can’t feel your voice box vibrating if you hold your hand on the front of your neck], the ending ed says ‘t’(looked, liked, jumped, washed)

• In all other verbs, the ending ed says ‘d’ (lived, killed, played, be longed).

Rule 29 (syllable division) – Words are usually divided between double consonants within a base word when writing them, e.g. hap py, lit tle (when reading it or hearing it, only the consonant in the accented syllable is pronounced; the consonant in the unaccented syllable is silent – lit’le).


• Every syllable must have a vowel ( lit tle4

r. 7).

• Double consonants are split (hap py, fun ny).

• If a vowel is followed by two consonants, the break is usually between the two consonants (win ter, sis ter).

• Split compound words (sun tan, some times).

• If a vowel is followed by one consonant, the break is usually after the vowel IF it is saying its second sound (be gan, o ver, a bout). These are Rule 4 words!

• If the vowel is followed by one consonant and it is NOT saying its second sound, move the consonant over to the syllable to close in the vowel in and make it say it’s first sound (lem on, cab in).

• Prefixes (beginnings) and suffixes (endings) usually stand on their own as syllables (un done, jump ing).

• Two vowels together, not acting as a phonogram, are split (gi ant, i de a).

• Job 4 of silent final ‘e’ stands alone as a syllable (hand le, sam ple).

NEVER split a phonogram!