Teaching Phonograms (SWR!)


At first look I was a bit intimidated by the “Spell to Write and Read” curriculum used by Valley Classical School. There is a red book, a black book, a bunch of cards with letters and slashes and other such interesting things…

After digging in and using the “How to Introduce Phonograms” link from the VCS Preparing for Fall Guide I am feeling much more confident and I hope to pass this confidence on to you.

This summer, children entering 1st through 4th grades at VCS will need to work to memorize “phonograms,” (listed on the above referenced “card things” with slashes and letters…). Phonograms are awesome and exciting tools for becoming a strong speller. Spelling is a fundamental building block to reading and writing well.

Here are some hints that may help:

  1. Pull apart the white and tan cards, separate and order. The phonograms you will need for this summer are on the white cards

  2. Before you dive headlong into reading the red and black books included in the curriculum read the “How to Introduce Phonograms” link from the VCS Preparing for Fall Guide (which actually does have you read pages 31-32 in the red book regardless). This will provide a concise overview of phonograms and how to jump right into to teaching them to your children.  Of course if you want to start with a comprehensive reading of the texts provided by the curriculum, by all means do! I found the “How to Introduce Phonograms” a very helpful preamble to the texts themselves.

  3. Read through the “How to Introduce Phonograms” link entirely and then start with the “Complete these exercises with your student” section. These are fun and important.

  4. If your children are like my children, take a break, eat a snack and then move onto the “Fourth, Introduce Phonogram Cards” section on the bottom of page 3.

  5. There is a proposed daily and weekly schedule for memorizing the phonograms. Keep in mind:

    1. 1st graders only have to memorize the first 26 white cards

    2. Do not expect them to memorize them cold right away...repetition will aid with memory over time

Feel free to touch base with any questions!



Rani Rosborough