Since English is such an irregular language, sounding out words can be difficult for new readers and ESL students. There are patterns that work pretty well, however. By keeping them in mind, you can sound out most words you encounter without too much trouble. Read on to learn how to sound out words.
Find the consonants in the word. Think about what sound each one makes. Remember blends like "th" or "sh" where the two consonants make a sound together.
Look for smaller words within the bigger word. For example, "imaginary" contains the word "imagine" in it, making it easier to sound out.
Look for silent letters. "h" at the end of a word does not make a sound. "e" at the end is silent as well, but changes the sound of other letters.
If there is an "e" at the end of the word, figure out how it changes the way the word sounds. The letter "e" before a "c" or a "g" softens the sound. In "ace," the "c" has an s sound, whereas in "act," it has a k sound. In "mage," "g" has a j, while in "agnostic," it has a g sound.
An "e" at the end of a word can also change short vowels into long vowels. Compare "car" and "care."
Sound out the word syllable by syllable. Most of the time, it will sound enough like a word you know that you will be able to figure it out before you reach the end of the word.
Once you have sounded the word out one syllable at a time, speed it up. Try to blend the syllables into each other until they flow into one word.