PhonicsTutor® Phonograms

App Features

  • The app functions as a set of phonogram flash cards with the added benefit of not requiring a tutor to pronounce the phonemes and words. No more lost flashcards.
  • The app teaches 14 R-controlled vowels, because we teach the General American dialect and pronounce all R-controlled vowels with the r sound.
  • teaches phonograms in order of usage and importance.
  • Sample words that demonstrate the sound each phonogram makes.
  • Context sensitive help give instructions how to progressively reveal the phonemes and sample words for each phonogram
  • Click to change between IPA diacritic/enPR/AHD phonetic transcription of words and phonemes.
  • Sample words are sounded out by bolding each phonogram in a word while saying the phoneme
  • Phonemes are displayed as IPA diacritic/enPR/AHD as they are pronounced.
  • Phonemes are pronounced using the “sound it out” pronunciation used by many phonics instruction methods throughout the world. This way pronunciation is the only to communicate what phoneme the indicated phonogram says with a single syllable “name” of the phoneme. This method is currently the only way to communicate the indicated phoneme to beginning readers. Phonemic orthographies have used name of letters that demonstrate the use of the phoneme for about 3000 years. The more accurate method of saying /b/ as in baby or /g/ as in get used by dictionaries keys to pronunciation or other cumbersome methods used in reference works on orthography are distracting to training the brain to associate the sound with its spelling. Using only a phonetic transcription to indicate phonemes, which our app teaches, is necessary to use dictionaries is also accurate, but it requires skills beginning readers are still learning.


Knowing the phonograms of English orthography will improve almost everyone’s ability to read and spell. English Orthography starts with knowing what letter sequences, called phonograms in phonics curricula, the reliably predict a sequence of phonemes in words. The word phonogram can mean any letter sequence representing any phoneme sequence, but in orthography it is restricted to those that predict how a word is divided into phonograms and the phonetic value of each phonogram as they occur in words. With very few exception English words can be divided into phonograms of 1-4 letters with each phonogram usually representing a phoneme, but in some cases 2 or 3 phonemes. After a word is divided into phonograms, substituting the possible phonemes for each phonogram yields a set of possible pronunciations of the word. Application of rules that predict which phoneme a phonogram says based on its context and know the most likely phoneme it says results in a reader recognizing most words they understand and have heard before. This seems like hopelessly tedious task, but it is not because of the way phonograms occur in words. In fact, examination of word frequency list by anyone knows the phonograms of a word the sounds they make will convince them they can read almost all words the have heard and understand their meaning and usage.


Orthography is a set of conventions for writing a language. In an alphabetic writing system orthography includes norms of spelling, hyphenation, diacritical marks, scan direction, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation. The word orthography means “correct + writing” from Greek ορθός /orˈθos/ (correct) + γραφή /ɣraˈfi/ (writing). As this definition would suggest, there would be a considerable consensus as to what are the conventions of English orthography. A summary of the differences between the main dialects, American and British, shows only a few hundred differences that can be easily read by the 2 billion people speaking about 160 dialects. Despite the fact that different dialects vary considerably in the way words are pronounced.


Phonics is a method for the teaching of reading and writing English. A phonics curriculum teaches phonology of English by teaching individual phonemes of the language and how words are a sequence of phonemes. The objective of any phonics curriculum is to determine the pronunciation of newly encountered spelling of a word. English orthography is irregular in that it cannot reliably predict the pronunciation of a word from its spelling. While this is true a majority of children can learn to read with a read by many methods that differ significantly how much orthography is taught or how it is communicated. Part of this debate comes from just look at the spelling-to-sound correspondences. However, words are not just sequence of randomly chose phonemes, but composed of the syllables. English words are distinguished from other words by the sequence of phonemes of the word. Words can be dived into sequence of graphemes and multigraphs each representing a phoneme or in a few cases a short list of phonemes as in letter ⟨x⟩ for /ks/ and ⟨le⟩ for /əl/. Most phonics curricula refer to graphemes and multigraphs collectedly known as phonograms. English orthography is irregular in that phonogram can represent more than one phoneme. In addition, several of the multi-letter phonograms are divided to represent a sequence of phonemes. Thus, for such phonograms such as ⟨ea⟩ which usually says one of the three phonemes /i/, /ɛ/ /eɪ/, but represents two phonemes in idea /aɪˈdi.ə/ create /kriːˈeɪt/. The Wikipedia article on English Orthography and many phonics curricula list a set of rules that improve the reliability choosing the likely or certain phonemes a phonogram represents. Rules can help if one is to give reason which of the possible pronunciation are more likely and, in some cases, the only possible pronunciation for a spelling. Rules are an integral part of text-to-speech software, spell checkers, search engine suggestion and speech recognition software. We can also use rules to orthographic transcription or transliterate foreign words. This is complicated by the fact that English Orthography is uses a defective script, which cannot represent all the phonemic distinctions of a language. In this case, phonetic transcription with phonetic script such as the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA, can be used to accurately communicate the correct pronunciation of words speech sounds that have no English spelling.

IPA and Dictionaries

The irregularities of English Orthography and the large vocabulary of English means that a percentage new words we encounter will be unfamiliar. Even fluent readers will at time mispronounce words. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fourth grader reading the Wikipedia article about swans or a graduate student in physics reading the Wikipedia article about quantum mechanics, it is very likely some words will not be recognized and mispronounced. Screen readers will also misread some words. Then most of us consult a dictionary for the phonetic transcription of the word. Dictionaries don’t agree with each other and the and sometimes the recorded audio does not agree with the phonetic transcription. Dictionaries list several phonetic transcriptions for words that have several alternate pronunciations. The diacritic phonetic transcription of enPR/AHD only specify a diaphoneme for vowels. A diaphonemes is a list of phonemes spoken in different dialects. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) provides a more accurate transcription for a particular dialect. The PhonicsTutor® Phonogram App uses the IPA symbols as found in Help:Pronunciation respelling key and Help:IPA/English. Because enPR/AHD is often used the APP makes it possible to switch between IPA and enPR/AHD any time you want.