Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 196–221

Syllable and rime patterns for teaching reading: Analysis of a frequency-based vocabulary of 17,602 words

  • Margaret L. Stanback
Part III Origins, Patterns, And Prognoses

DOI: 10.1007/BF02654946

Cite this article as:
Stanback, M.L. Annals of Dyslexia (1992) 42: 196. doi:10.1007/BF02654946


A frequency-based vocabulary of 17,602 words was compiled and analyzed in order to group words with recurring syllable and rime patterns for teaching reading. The role of the rime unit (e.g.,ite inkite andinvite) in determining vowel pronunciation was central to the analysis because of the difficulty that the ambiguity of English vowel spelling presents to children who do not learn to read words easily. Vowel pronunciation in each orthographic rime was examined, both for its consistency in all words in which the rime occurs and for regularity, defined as conformity to the most frequent pronunciation for each vowel spelling in each of six orthographic syllable types.

Of the 824 different orthographic rimes, 616 occur in rime families as the building blocks of almost all the 43,041 syllables of the words. These rimes account for a striking amount of patterning in the orthography: 436 are both regular and consistent in pronunciation (except where a single exception word occurs); another 55 are consistent but not regular. Of the remaining 125, only 86 have less than a 90 percent level of consistency. The high order of congruence of orthographic and phonological rimes suggests their usefulness as units for teaching reading.

Copyright information

© The Orton Dyslexia Society 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret L. Stanback
    • 1
  1. 1.Windward SchoolWhite Plains

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