Phonics and spelling

Complete phonics and spelling course for adults 

Making Sense of Decoding and Spelling: An Adult Reading Course of Study is a complete course with the following:

The description states that it "is an evidence-based course of study designed to teach adult learners to decode and spell words accurately and fluently. The materials were developed during a research study by Charles MacArthur, Judith Alamprese, and Deborah Knight. When implemented as designed, the course was found to have positive learner gains."

Rhyming word families (analogy phonics)

Learning phonics using rhyming word families, also called analogy phonics, rather than individual sound-letter relationships, is appealing to adults who want to understand patterns. The author pf the resources, Marn Frank, is based in the US where she worked as an elementary teacher, special education teacher, adult basic education (ABE) teacher/coordinator, learning disabilities specialist and trainer in evidence-based reading instruction for adults.  While she was a coordinator of a specialized reading program (STudent Achievement in Reading or STAR) she developed numerous training and instructional resources. 


The slide presentation (16 slides) provides an overview of the analogy phonics approach along with a lesson routine. 

No copyright or licensing information provided.


The PDF book (91 pages) contains all instructions and activities to support the lessons.

Copyrighted. Available as a PDF and accessed from ATLAS (ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System).

Slide sets for teaching compound words, prefixes and suffixes

Also developed by Marn Frank is a slide set for teaching compound words, prefixes and suffixes in remote teaching sessions. The slides have a flexible sequence, clear explanations, an explicit instructional model and follow-up activities. A slide with instructional strategies is also available. 

No copyright or licensing information is provided.

Compound Words

University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) Foundations Toolbox

The UFLI Foundations Toolbox is a comprehensive collection of phonics-based reading development lessons and activities that can be used in-person or in remote learning contexts. You can use the materials on their own or with additional guidance from an optional teachers' manual, which costs $110.00 USD. 

The core of the toolbox is a set of 128 lessons covering very beginning letter-sound relationships progressing to more complicated letter-sounds such as --tion. Each lesson includes the following:

The lessons are designed for children. However, they do not include any images. You might have to make some changes to the decodable texts to make them more appropriate for adults.

Also included in the toolbox are several printable resources that complement the lessons, namely word mats, cards for irregular common sounds, wall charts, alphabet tiles and grapheme cards. A two-page lesson planning guide clearly demonstrates how you can use the resources in a lesson sequence.

And there is more! Also included are online interactives, the UFLI Apps. You will need an account to save this work. Video tutorials are included. 

The site has the following statement about allowable uses

"The materials on this site are freely available for anyone to use, adapt, and share (with attribution), but no one is permitted to sell either the original materials, any adaptation of it, or lesson plans that reproduce any part of it. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. These materials are to be used for educational purposes only." 

A multisensory approach for phonics instruction

The Color Vowel Chart is an interactive tool that integrates pronunciation with phonics without the use of phonetic symbols.  Instead, English sounds are presented with their various spellings and associated with a colour and word pair. The sound-first approach combined with colour, images and phrases is multisensory and appealing to adult learners. The focus, write the authors, is to "help students learn to LISTEN to how something is pronounced and NOT be misled by the spelling." 

We are featuring older resources with a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. However, the chart itself is copyrighted. Developers have also registered the phrase Color Vowel®  as a trademark. Newer versions of the instructional materials are now only available through paid training from Color Vowel: English Language Training Solutions.


A spelling strategies guide

Spelling Works is an out-of-print book with a relinquished copyright. Here is what the developers write:

"SpellingWorks: A workbook of spelling strategies is a self-study spelling workbook for adults and young adults, in graphic format. Written by Maureen Hague and Clare Harris, it’s for people who ‘get stuck’ spelling certain words, or feel their spelling is hopeless, and it offers long-term strategies for improving spelling."

Online PDF

Relinquished copyright. Free to download and share but "don’t sell it, or copy without acknowledgement." 

Open source phonics

Open Source Phonics is a collection of phonics activities and short texts that, you guessed it, are completely open! That means, writes the developer,  "these materials are not just free—they are also made for sharing. These materials can be supplemented, adapted, and republished to fit a school’s or community’s needs." The materials are similar to costly sequential phonics programs and have been reviewed by academics from Texas A&M University.

One caveat is the target audience, which is children. While all of the lessons will work for adults, since there are no graphics, the stories need to be reviewed. But, you are completely free to make modifications for yourself and others.  

There are 120 sequential lessons that likely don't need to be covered in their entirety by most adult learners. Integrate phonics activities in a balanced reading and writing program. Choose specific lessons to address challenges that students experience when reading and writing. The developer also offers tips for those using the materials in an intensive one-on-one intervention program. Online PDF of complete collection (451 pages)

Also available are 10 sets of short stories focused on particular sounds covered in the lessons, along with some tips for using the short stories. The lessons, stories and tips are also available in our Google Drive folder.

No specific CC license has been applied.

Do you know of other OER that we can add to this page? Get in touch: