Is English spelling driving you crazy? Is it keeping you from recognizing words you already know, or making you afraid to try writing anything in English?

Maybe vowels are the worst. A letter can have four or more sounds, and the same sounds can be written with up to five or more different combinations of letters!

Is there any way to make sense of this mess? Will you ever be comfortable reading or writing in English?

Learning to pronounce and spell English vowels can be complicated. You can do it! How would you feel about a step-by-step process to

  • learn the simple ways to recognize the two most common pronunciations for each vowel,
  • get familiar with frequent vowel combinations and the ways to pronounce vowels followed by an R,
  • and learn the most common exceptions to the rules?

By the end of this course, you should be able to recognize the correct pronunciation of most vowels and the most likely possibilities for the few cases when one or more is possible. Your spelling should also improve as you practice these rules. This course makes it as simple as possible.

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome & course overview

  • 2

    Short & Long Vowels in English

    • Do This First: Look at the Most Basic English Vowel Rules

    • Short & Long Vowel Sounds

    • Short & Long Vowels Quiz

    • Short & Long English Vowel Sounds- optional review pdf

  • 3

    Sounds of A and its Digraphs

    • Ways to Pronounce A

    • Sounds of 'A' Quiz

    • Ways to Pronounce ‘A’ in English- optional review pdf

  • 4

    Sounds of 'E' and its Digraphs

    • Ways to Pronounce E

    • Sounds of 'E' Quiz

    • Ways to Pronounce E- optional review pdf

  • 5

    Sounds of I and Its Digraphs

    • Ways to Pronounce I

    • Sounds of 'I' Quiz

    • Ways to Pronounce I- optional review pdf

  • 6

    Sounds of 'O' & Its Digraphs

    • Ways to Pronounce O- Short & Long

    • Sounds of 'O' Quiz (Short, Long, & U-colored Sounds)

    • Other Ways to Pronounce O Digraphs

    • Sounds of 'OU' & 'OW' Quiz

    • Ways to Pronounce ‘O’- Short & Long Sounds (optional review pdf)

    • Other Ways to Pronounce Some ‘O’ Digraphs (optional review pdf)

  • 7

    Sounds of 'U'

    • Ways to Pronounce U

    • Sounds of 'U' Quiz

    • Ways to Pronounce U (optional review pdf)

  • 8

    Vowels Before 'Rs'

    • Vowel Sounds Before Rs

    • Sounds of Vowels Before Rs Quiz

    • Ways to Pronounce Vowels + ‘R’s (optional review pdf)

  • 9

    Key Vowels of Words with Several Syllables

    • Multi-syllable & Academic Words

    • Bonus-- More Examples of Important Academic Words

    • Quiz: Stressed Vowels in Multi-syllable words (plus Vowel Rules Review)

    • Alphabetical List of Multi-syllable Words Taught in this Unit

    • Multi-syllable Words, Including Academic Vocabulary (optional pdf review)

    • Bonus-- More Examples of Important Academic Words (optional pdf review)

    • Please Give Feedback & Help Improve this Course

About Your Teacher


Catherine Simonton

I’ve been helping students learn English for nearly 20 years, though I've been fascinated by words and languages my whole life.

I learned how to study vocabulary while studying several languages including Latin (the source of so many roots of English words), Spanish, a little Portuguese (just reading), and some Chinese. That language study has been so enriching, as well as useful, that I want to help others get the same benefits from learning English!

While teaching adult ESL I saw the need for more reading and practice materials, especially for Intermediate students to study on their own. That’s one reason I started the EnglishHints website in 2011.

Reading a lot in English is so valuable for learning vocabulary and ways to express thoughts in English!

In fact, for almost anyone who wants to study or work using English, conversational English is not enough. That's why EnglishHints and the EnglishHints Academy include so much academic vocabulary and guided reading practice.

I hope these courses will help you become a more confident and effective English speaker!

P.S. You can reach me with any questions at