by Elinor Boeke
Reading Specialist
Dayton, Ohio

Easy-to-learn method uses colors as phonics clues.

Just six colors help beginning readers or English-language learners of all ages learn to read most words without guessing. Students see the "big picture" and overcome common stumbling blocks caused by inconsistent letter sounds in English. For example, look at the words below. The long vowels are red, short vowels are orange, and silent letters are gray.


The following activities are simple to use and do not require previous knowledge of what the colors mean. Students will learn about the colors as they do the activites.

Color Guide

Red for Long Vowels:
ade, seed, tie, go
Orange for Short Vowels:
at, bet, him, hot
Gray for Silent Letters:
ight, face
Purple for "Uh"
e, son, cut
Green for Unusual
phone, would
Blue for Vowels with Consonants r, l, ng:
ir, ball, sing

For more information and sample words in color, see the Color Rules page and the Alphabet Chart page. See Teaching Tips for more ideas. Please check the Q & A page if you have questions. Also, please use the form on the Contact Form page to give comments or suggestions for more materials. Your students can be successful in reading!