The Riggs Institute

Supporting the Core Knowledge sequence is the Riggs literacy program. The Riggs method is a phonics-based program that began 120 years ago by Dr. Samuel T. Orton. The program teaches students the foundational sounds made by letters and groups of letters. As young students learn to read, they are able to sound out words by using the phonograms already instilled in them. They are able to compare the sounds with words they already know until they eventually speak the correct combination. As they do this, they can identify what is right and what is not. In doing so, students learn to become self-sufficient in reading alone. It offers practical support to teach the following language arts "strands" and various components of cognitive development:

  • "Explicit" phonics with dictated initial letter formation
  • Phonemic and graphemic awareness
  • Correct spelling with the standardized 47 spelling rules of English
  • Fluent oral and silent reading
  • Oral and print comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation and speech
  • Creative and organizational composition
  • Grammar, syntax, punctuation and capitalization
  • Analytical and inferential thinking
  • Auditory, visual, verbal, and motor cognitive development in:
  • Attention
  • Discrimination
  • Association
  • Memory

Alphabetized Phonogram List

Phonogram
Sound Represented
Word Examples
a /a/ - /A/ - /ah/-/aw/ at, la•zy, want, talk
b /b/ big
c /k/ - /s/ cat, cent
d /d/ dad
e /e/ - /E/ end, e•ven
f /f/ fast
g /g/ - /j/ good, gym
h /h/ hat
i /i/ - /I/ - /E/ it, i•tem, ra•di•o
j /j/ just
k /k/ kit
l /l/ let
m /m/ met
n /n/ nice
o /ah/ - /O/ - /OO/ - /aw/ odd, go, to cost
p /p/ pan
qu /kw/ quit
r /r/
(not /er/ or /ruh/)
ran
s /s/ - /z/ sit, as
t /t/ tip
u /u/ - /U/ - /OO/ - /oo/ us, u•nit, true, put
v /v/ vase
w /w/ walk
x /ks/ box
y /y/ (consonant)
/i/ - /I/ - /E/ (vowel)
yard, gym, by, ba•by
z /z/ zip
ai /A/
two-letter /A/ that we do not use at the end of English words*
mail
ar /ar/ (the pirate phongram) car
au /aw/
that we do not use at the end of English words*
sauce
aw /aw/
that we do use at the end of English words
saw
ay /A/
two-letter /A/ that we do use at the end of English words
may
ch /ch/ - /k/ - /sh/ child, echo, chef
-ci /sh/
short letter /sh/ used at the beginning of most syllables after the first one
spa•cious
ck /k/
two-letter /k/ used only after a single vowel which says /a/ - /e/ - /i/ - /o/ - /u/
back (-ack -eck -ick -ock -uck)
dge /j/
three-letter /j/ used only after a single vowel which says /a/ - /e/ - /i/ - /o/ - /u/
edge (-adge -edge -idge -odge -udge)
ea /E/ - /e/ - /A/ eat, bread, steak
ear /er/
the ear of early
ear•ly
-ed /ed/ - /d/ - /t/
(past tense ending)
graded, pulled, picked
ee /E/
double E always says /E/
feet
ei /A/ - /E/
that we do not use at the end of English words*
veil, ceiling
eigh /A/
four-letter /A/
weigh
er /er/
the er of her
her
eu /OO/ - /U/
that we do not use at the end of English words*
neutral, feud
Phonogram
Sound Represented
Word Examples
ew /OO/ - /U/
that we do use at the end of English words
grew, few
ey /A/ - /E/
that we do use at the end of English words
they, valley
gn /n/
two-letter /n/ used either at the beginning or end of a base word
gnat, sign
ie /E/ - /I/
(piece of pie, the backward phonogram)
piece, pie
igh /I/
three-letter /I/
high
ir /er/
the ir of first
first
kn /n/
two-letter /n/ used only at the beginning of a base word
know
ng /ng/ ring
oa /O/
the /O/ of boat
boat
oe /O/
the /O/ of toe
toe
oi /oy/
that we do not use at the end of English words*
noise
oo /OO/ - /oo/ - /O/ for
or /or/ for
ou /ow/ - /O/ - /OO/ - /u/ out, four, you, touch
ough /O/ - /OO/ - /uff/ - /off/ - /aw/ - /ow/ though, through, rough, trough, thought, bough
ow /ow/ - /O/
(cow in the snow)
plow, snow
oy /oy/
that we do use at the end of English words
toy
ph /f/
two-letter /f/ (older classes may say /f/ Greek /f/)
phone
-si /sh/ - /zh/
used at the beginning of most syllables after the first one
ses•sion, vi•sion
sh /sh/
used at the beginning of a word, at the end of a syllable but not at the beginning of most syllables after the first one, except fo the ending "ship."
she, dish, (relationship)
tch /ch/
three-letter /ch/ used only after a single vowel which says /a/ - /e/ - /i/ - /o/ - /u/
catch (-atch, -etch, -itch, -otch, -utch)
-ti /sh/
tall-letter /sh/ used at the beginning of any syllable after the first one
na•tion
th /th/ - /th/
first is quiet [unvoiced], second is noisy [voiced])
think, this
ui /OO/ - /I/ - /i/
that we do not use at the end of English words*
fruit, guide, build
ur /er/
the ur of nurse
nurse
wh /hw/ when (where, why, what, which)
wor /er/
the wor of works
works
wr /r/
two-letter /r/ (not /er/)
write

*Why? English words do not end in I or U (excpetions: I, you, and thou)

To learn more about the Riggs program and the research that supports it, visit The Riggs Institute website. You may also contact your child's English teacher to learn more about or to ask questions regarding Riggs.