Bruce Murray, College of Education The Reading Genie


Letterbox Example Words With 4, 5, and 6 Phonemes

Teaching a letterbox lesson? Select 3-12 words to illustrate the one new correspondence you are teaching in your lesson.  Make sure letterbox words are regular, one-syllable example words with varied endings.

  • Not irregular words—they don’t illustrate the correspondence, e.g., the o in post is long.
  • Not words of more than one syllable, e.g., in common, the vowel changes and consonants double up.
  • Not consecutive rhymes, e.g., hopmoppoptop. Vary word endings so student will look beyond the first letter.

Add review words so your student will notice the vowel.  Review words  usually feature earlier short vowels in the alphabet.  If you are teaching a long vowel, review its short vowel partner.

Build from short words to longer words.  For the easiest lessons, use 2-phoneme words that start with vowel (e.g., odd), then 3’s (mop).   For normal lessons, add 4- and 5-phoneme words—even 6 if you can think of any.  These words contain consonant clusters, e.g., flock (4), stomp (5) and provide early blending practice.  Longer words provide challenge, and students gain confidence as they conquer them.

a = /a/

4 crab, drab, grab, scab, slab, stab, black, crack, smack, snack, stack, track, glad, brag, drag, flag, snag, clam, cram, gram, slam, camp, damp, lamp, ramp, champ, bran, clan, plan, scan, span, band, hand, land, sand, clang, slang, bank, rank, sank, tank, yank, thank, clap, flap, slap, snap, trap, brash, clash, crash, flash, slash, smash, thrash, trash, brat, flat, scat, fact, tact, raft, shaft, pant, cask, mask, task, cast, fast, last, past, vast, brass, class, glass, grass
5 clamp, cramp, scamp, stamp, tramp, bland, brand, grand, stand, sprang, blank, clank, crank, drank, flank, Frank, plank, prank, spank, scrap, strap, tract, craft, draft, grant, plant, slant, flask, blast, scratch, clasp, scalp, splat, scram
6  strand

e = /e/

4 bled, bred, fled, Fred, shred, sled, sped, smell, spell, swell, bend, lend, mend, send, tend, bent, cent, dent, rent, lent, sent, tent, went, best, nest, pest, rest, test, vest, west, chest, fret, bless, dress, press, left, help, next, weld
5 blend, spend, trend, spent, blest, stress, slept, crept
6  strength

i = /i/

4 brick, click, flick, slick, stick, trick, grid, skid, slid, swig, twig, drill, grill, frill, skill, spill, still, thrill, trill, brim, grim, slim, swim, trim, grin, skin, spin, twin, bring, cling, fling, sling, sting, swing, kink, link, mink, pink, rink, sink, wink, chink, think, hint, lint, mint, tint, blip, clip, drip, flip, grip, skip, slip, snip, trip, grit, skit, slit, spit, crib, cliff, sniff, stiff, gift, lift, shift, tilt, wilt, swish, disk, risk, Swiss, list, mist, switch
5 sprig, spring, string, blink, brink, clink, drink, shrink, stink, flint, print, strip, split, drift, swift, thrift, brisk, frisk, twist, blimp, crisp
6  sprint, splint, script, scrimp

o = /o/

4 blob, slob, snob, block, clock, crock, flock, frock, smock, stock, clod, plod, prod, clog, frog, smog, prong, crop, drop, flop, plop, slop, stop, blot, clot, plot, slot, spot, trot, cross, blotch
5 strong, blond, stomp, frost, splotch
6  prompt

u = /u/

4 club, grub, shrub, stub, cluck, pluck, stuck, truck, bluff, fluff, gruff, scuff, stuff, drug, plug, shrug, slug, snug, drum, plum, scum, slum, swum, bump, dump, hump, jump, lump, pump, spun, stun, clung, flung, stung, swung, bunk, dunk, hunk, junk, punk, sunk, chunk, blush, brush, crush, flush, plush, slush, thrush, spud, grudge, bunch, hunch, lunch, munch, punch, bunt, hunt, punt, runt, plus, bust, dust, just, must, rust
5 scrub, struck, strum, clump, grump, plump, slump, stump, trump, sprung, strung, drunk, flunk, plunk, shrunk, skunk, slunk, spunk, stunk, trunk, strut, crunch, blunt, grunt, stunt, thrust, trust, crust, frump
6  scrunch

a_e = /A/

4 brace, grace, place, space, trace, blade, grade, spade, trade, brake, drake, flake, snake, stake, blame, flame, frame, crane, plane, flare, glare, scare, snare, spare, stare, crate, plate, skate, state, brave, grave, slave, stage, grape, blaze, craze
5  scrape, strafe

ai/ay = /A/

4 frail, snail, trail, brain, drain, grain, plain, Spain, stain, train, spray, stray, braid, stair, claim, faint, splay
5  sprain, strain

ee/ea = /E/

4 creak, sneak, speak, steal, cream, dream, steam, clear, smear, spear, treat, bleed, breed, freed, greed, speed, steed, treed, creep, sleep, steep, sweep, fleet, greet, sleet, sweet, clean, creek, Greek, sleek, steel, green, sneer, steer, spree, least, feast
5 streak, stream, scream, street, screen, screech

i_e = /I/

4 price, slice, spice, twice, bride, glide, pride, slide, crime, grime, prime, slime, brine, shrine, spine, swine, drive, thrive, bribe, tribe, spike, smile, gripe, spite
5 splice, stride, strive, scribe, strife, strike, stripe, sprite

igh/y = /I/

4 bright, flight, fright, slight, spry

o_e = /O/

4 broke, smoke, spoke, clone, crone, drone, stone, grope, slope, scope, score, store, snore, swore, globe, probe, stole, close, drove, stove
5 stroke, strode

oa/ow = /O/

4 cloak, croak, groan, boast, coast, roast, toast, bloat, float, throat, blown, flown, grown, thrown

u_e = /U/

4 crude, prude, prune, flute
5 spruce

ew/oo = /U/

4 screw, drool, spool, stool, bloom, broom, gloom, groom, spoon, droop, scoop, snoop, swoop, troop, smooth, snooze

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Last modified: January 26, 2018