Organization of the Word Lists
The word lists available here at OnTrack Reading break down into two major categories: spellings of vowel sounds and spellings of consonant sounds. Within the vowel sound category, lists are divided into one-syllable words and words of two or more syllables.
The Order of Presentation of the Sounds
There are 19 vowel sounds taught in the OnTrack Reading Phonics Curriculum. They tend to fall into the following four groups:
1. /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/ are the First Vowel Sounds, often called the short vowel sounds
2. /ae/, /ee/, /ie/, /oe/, and /ue/ are the Second Vowel Sounds, often called the long vowel sounds.
3. /ar/, /or/, /er/, and /err/ are the vowel sounds influenced by the letter r, sometimes called the r-controlled vowel sounds.
4. /ow/, /oo/, /oul/, /oi/, and /aw/ are the remaining vowel sounds.
There are both one-syllable and multisyllable word lists for each of 19 vowel sounds. However, the word lists for the first group, the First Vowel Sounds, only use basic code spellings. Words like head, want, gym, and touch don't appear on those particular word lists. Instead there is a fifth grouping as follows:
5. /e/ spelled ea or ai, /i/ spelled y, /o/ spelled a, and /u/ spelled ou.
Vowel Sounds - One-Syllable
The lists found on the page One-Syllable Words: by Vowel Sound together include all of the one-syllable words in the database. A one-syllable word has exactly one vowel sound in it, and that sound determines which list the word appears on. All of the one-syllable words in the database will appear on one, and only one, of the word lists in this section.
For example, hatch will appear on the /a/ list, both couch and clown will appear on the /ow/ list, and thread will appear on the "/e/ spelled ea or ai" list.
Within each list, the words are broken down by spelling of the targeted sound. For example, couch will appear under the -ou- heading and clown will appear under the -ow- heading. Take a look:
Vowel Sounds - Multisyllable
On the other hand, several of the lists found on the page Multisyllable Words: by Vowel Sound might list the same word, if that word contains several different vowel sounds.
Within each multisyllable list, the words are grouped by number of syllables. Each such group is then subdivided depending upon which syllable the target sound first appears in. And then, within each such subdivision, the words are grouped according to the particular spelling of the targeted sound.
For example, the word iceberg will appear on the /ie/ multisyllable list under the category 2-syllable, 1st, -i-e-, and will also appear on the /er/ multisyllable list under the category 2-syllable, 2nd, -er-. Take a look:
Complete Coverage of a Vowel Sound
Say you are looking for all of the words in the database that have the /ow/ sound spelled with the digraph ou. You then only have to download two lists, the one-syllable list of /ow/ spellings, and the multisyllable list of /ow/ spellings. Within each list you'll find all of the words containing the spelling ou segregated into separate sublistings. Take a look:
Consonant Sounds by Spelling
The organization of the consonant sound word lists is a bit different. Here, each list covers just one specified spelling of the targeted sound, and the lists are grouped together by the targeted sound. All of the words with a specified spelling are included on the same list, whether one-syllable or multisyllable. Take a look at this example:
If you've come to the OnTrack Reading website looking for word lists, I hope you find what you need. If you spot errors in a list please consider taking a minute to use the Contact link at the bottom of the page and let me know.
If you're searching for word lists in an effort to help a struggling reader, I strongly encourage you to check out some of the other information here on my website, particularly the information in the section Understanding the Dyslexia Puzzle.
And if you're looking for a fast, effective way to teach a child phonics, particularly the advanced code that presents so many interesting challenges, take a look at the OnTrack Reading Advanced Code Phonics Workbook.