how does anyone ever learn to read?
When children are first learning to read, they are taught that English has five vowels (a-e-i-o-u) with long and short versions of each, plus -y- when it is not moonlighting as a consonant. This orientation puts the focus squarely on the letters rather than on the sounds the letters represent.
Really though, if you add up the long and short versions of each of the five vowel letters plus -y-, you get eleven--not five--vowels. This is much closer to a more accurate count of twelve single vowels plus three ‘glides’ (in which a vowel sound starts in one place, but finishes in another).
Here at ioE, the focus is always on the sounds instead of the letters. Why?
There are many reasons. Here are some of the more important ones:
What sound do the
letters '-ea-' make? Well...