What are sound pictures, and why not just call them letters?

With the Phono-Graphix program, we use the term “sound pictures” because sound pictures applies not only to single letters, but combinations of letters that represent one sound.  Letters are pictures of sounds, however, many sounds are represented by more than just one letter.  For example, the sound ‘o  in ‘pot’, can also be “pictured” as ough as in ‘bought’.  This is an example of why our language is very difficult to learn.  The letter ‘o’ doesn’t always represent the same sound, and there are many different spellings for most sounds.

Example:  Let us consider the “long o” sound.  You will find this sound spelled in several different ways in our language (this list is not all inclusive):  go, boat, tow, note, soul, door

This happens with many different sounds in our language.  Did you know that there are nine different ways to spell the sound /oo/ like in “spoon”?  (All these different spellings for sounds are addressed throughout the Reading Success Academy courses.  Students first encounter two letters representing one sound in level three of the Basic Code Course.)

So, by identifying a sound picture that may have two or more letters, students can more easily sound out words that contain them.  If in the word “boat”, they know the sound that goes with this sound picture: oa   the word becomes a simple three sound word. /b/   /oa/  /t/   Although there are four letters, there are only three sound pictures, each representing one sound.


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