Is Practice Reading & Speaking suitable for an American English accent? Would you like to analyse the similarities and differences between an American English and British English accent? Surprisingly, the English and American English accents have more similarities than differences. For example we pronounce nearly all of the consonants in the same way. The only consonant differences are that with an American English accent the letter ‘r’ has a longer or more exaggerated sound. When doubled, the letter ‘t’ sounds like ‘d’ (as in dog) in American English. Check the chart below
So let’s use the phonics course sold on this website (Practice Reading & Speaking) to demonstrate the differences between an English accent and American English accent. We need to analyse what is the same, similar or different about the way we speak.
British English phonic course – An analysis for American English speakers?
Practice Reading and speaking covers all of the alphabet sounds first. None of these will interfere with the teaching of the course. Next, the long vowel sounds or vowel names. Apart from the ‘I’ sound in American English (as in ‘pie‘) having a more pronounced ‘y’ ending to the sound, there are no major differences here either. There are a few exceptions that are word specific. E.g. Multi Vitamins. In English the first of the two words ends in an ‘ee’ sound. In the second word the letter ‘i’ has a short vowel sound as in ‘sit’. In American English it’s: Mult ‘igh’ v’igh’ tamins.
Now for vowel digraphs. Two are different in American English. Firstly, the ‘ar’ sound in British English sounds more like the short ‘a’ vowel sound (as in ‘cat‘)when speaking with an American accent. Secondly, the ‘or’ sound in British English (as in ‘ball’), at times sounds more like the ‘ar’ sound in English when speaking with an American accent. The rest of the vowel digraphs sound either the same or similar. If a sound has only a slight difference in American English (such as the sound is longer or more exaggerated than in British English) the course is still appropriate for your students.
There are many accent variations in England and in America but phonics is taught the same way in both countries. The English west country (Devon and Cornwall) has similarities at times to the American accent. Check out the variations in the Irish accent. English phonics courses are a one stop shop for all the various English accents.
Is PRS suitable as an American English phonics course?
The phonemes in American English and British English are taught with the same pronunciation. When the American student sees the image that demonstrates the sound being taught on the page, they will pronounce the sound in their usual way. Their pronunciation of the sound will relate to most or all of the words demonstrated on the page. So, here again, what may appear to cause an issue, actually does not. An American teacher will not enforce that the student says ‘butter’ when they usually pronounce it ‘budder’.
Practice Reading & Speaking, orders the sounds heard in speech into their different spelling patterns and further into three levels of difficulty. The student can easily make the connection between colour, image, sound and spelling. Regional differences won’t interfere with the student’s capacity to learn what is being taught. So, is Practice Reading & Speaking suitable for teaching phonics in America? YES! See a preview of the phonics course here.
Random Words and Spelling Rules
With regard to the random words that are obviously pronounced differently in American English such as: vitamin, advertisement, leisure, privacy etc., most are low frequency words that are subject specific and won’t interfere with the teaching of phonics. In fact, some British people use the American English pronunciation of some words, like ‘either’ or ‘privacy’. In England, both the English and American pronunciation is acceptable.
With regard to differences in spelling rules, the American spelling of certain words doesn’t affect the pronunciation of the word. For example colour or color still sounds the same. Due to computers and Microsoft, it is common for even children in England to notice the differences between American and English spelling. It never bothers them. It just makes them smile. Ask American kids how they feel?
Take a closer look at the American accent v British accent in the following chart. The chart demonstrates the sounds taught in the modules in Practice Reading & Speaking and the usual American English pronunciation of the sound. If a module or phoneme has not been included in the chart, it means there is no difference between the accents. As you will see, in only 4 modules of the 70, the students own accent will lead the pronunciation of the sound being taught on the page. As with every other module, your student will read the words in their own accent. (Including the random words that are pronounced differently in different regions of America and Britain too.)
For a brief overview of how the course works click here.
The Practice Reading & Speaking Phonics Course
PRS STUDENT GUIDE (Just the phonics course without the teaching notes and assessments.)