Catalog of the Most Frequent Spellings for Phonemes

The top spellings for phonemes and their percentages of the 17,000 most frequent words were investigated by Paul Hanna (see Hodges, R.E., 1966). The case for teaching sound-to-letter correspondences in spelling Elementary School Journal, 66, 327–336, and the update, Fry, E. (2004). Phonics: A large phoneme-grapheme frequency count revisited. Journal of Literacy Research, 36, 85–98.

For the reliability of vowel generalizations, see the chart below summarizing Francine Johnston’s research (from Johnston, F.P., 2001, The utility of phonic generalizations: Let's take another look at Clymer’s conclusions). The Reading Teacher, 55, 132–143.

The frequency of spelling patterns is a matter of scientific discovery. Much of what I learned from Hanna’s and Johnston's studies surprised me, e.g., that s is the most common spelling of /z/. We don’t want to burden children and teachers with rare spellings, nor do we want to omit common ones.

Get in Touch With The Reading Genie

Have questions, need assistance, or want to explore the world of decodable stories with us? Fill out the form below, and we'll be delighted to assist you on your reading journey! And we'll get back to you soon

Get in Touch

Send us an email

[email protected]
Follow Us