What Why it Works Example
Phonics for Keeps teaches consonant “sounds” as they truly are: that is, as a position of the lips, tongue, and mouth with or without accompanying, breath,  spitting, humming, hissing, and/or guttural sound. This is true to how English works. An example of the wrong approach: we tell students that the sound for “B” is “buh”. Then the student may try to decode the word “bat” by saying “buh-a-tuh.” The “sound” for the letter “H,” as in the word “hot,” is simply a breath.
Teaches digraphs, trigraphs, and quadrigraphs as sets of letters thatas a unitcarry a specific sound. To otherwise treat the component letters as functioning individually can only confuse students. The digraph “ie” carries the sound long “i” in “lies” but the long “e” sound in “brief.”
Supplies “Memory help” words for each of the 15 core vowel sounds. The words are short, easy to remember, easy to pronounce correctly, and easy to peal the consonants from successfully. Say the word “bit”, then repeat the sounds, but minus one consonant at a time. Continue until all that is left is the core vowel sound “short i.”
Defines even the simplest words; for this reason, it is a vocabulary builder too. Students can relate all the words to their day-to-day usage of them. The word “bit” is defined as “a small amount.”
Supplies sets of steps to help students build the spelling for a word based on its sounds. Teaches students to see the interrelationship of sounds to spelling. For the word “bīt” they first say the sound “alphabet i” for this word’s vowel sound. They would then add the consonant sounds “b” and “t” back in. They could then use the word in a sentence to visualize the word “bite.”
Supplies sets of steps to help students pinpoint the sounds in words that they know. Teaches students to see the interrelationships of spellings to sound. Students drop outside sounds until they hear the word’s vowel sound. Then they write down the symbol for this vowel sound.  Finally, they add the symbols for the consonant sounds.
Supplies pronunciation rules. Helps students sound out wordseven words that they do not recognize. One vowel followed by two consonants (at the end of the word) will usually carry a short vowel sound.
Supplies all spellings for all sounds. Students will recognize and spell words correctly. Several spellings can carry the “short u” sound: “o” (other), “ou” (country), “oe” (does), “oo” (in blood and flood), and “u” (duck).
Teaches students 5 important spelling rules. Students become better spellers and sense the function of root words. Words ending in silent “e” must drop the “e before any suffix that starts with a vowel or “y”. The word “taste” can become “tasting” or “tasty.”