I have been teaching ESL to Spanish speaking adults for about 25 years. I focus on pronunciation from the first class for beginners and usually review pronunciation for intermediate and advanced students.

I do not use the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) because it takes too long to learn, but instead I developed a  phonetic method based upon how Spanish speakers would write words phonetically.  For example, book – buk, attention – ah ten shan’.

I concentrate on "problem sounds" such as:
1. G AND J –George and Jim jump in the garage 
2. V – Virginia is very intelligent
3. H – Harry has a red hat
4. SHORT I- Jim swims in the river
5. SHORT U-Uncle Harry’s umbrella is under the bus
     And I include a special section on words beginning with S followed by  consonant because Spanish speakers have a tendency to add an e at the beginning, and at the  same time I teach the silent e at the end of words rule. Tongue twisters are very popular.

Most of these sounds can be found in the lessons on the alphabet, the numbers, greetings and in Cognates.

Learning to spell, counting, adding, subtracting, telling time, greetings and salutations, etc., are the first lessons I teach.
I demonstrate how to make the sounds as comically as I can, because after all, English is a very funny language! Actually, English may be the most difficult language to pronounce in the world!! So I have found it necessary and ..even rewarding and fun!...to use humor.

And then I "weave" pronunciation lessons or drills into nearly all my classes for at least three months. 
At a certain point I teach ’confusing words" (tree, three) in a quiz show kind of approach.
I have found that students learn to pronounce English fairly well after a month or so using this approach. 
And I have observed that when a student learns to be comfortable with English pronunciation, then that student also begins to learn quickly.

I think that a lack of pronunciation hinders learning because the student feels ... stupid, and I try to help the student acquire confidence in speaking.
I also have found that a student can understand spoken English better when his or her pronunciation is improved. For example, a difficulty in pronouncing "three" versus "tree' leads to a misunderstanding of either of these words when spoken by another person. Therefore learning and practicing correct (or good) pronunciation can help a great deal when students are taking tests involving “Listening Comprehension”.

My program is bilingual, but some of the drills can be used in an English only class. The more advanced pronunciation lessons are also used to teach spelling (see Pumarosa Principiante, lesson 15).
Below are some websites that also focus on phonics.

Paul Rogers

From Google: Adult ESL and Phonics

1.http://weallcanread.com/esol-pronunciation/    ESOL / PRONUNCIATION” I have been struggling for the past 16 years without understanding how words are pronounced!…To me your program is priceless because after 16 years I have found the proper way to learn and improve English.” 

2. Sophie Wang's Phonics Book for Adult ESL Students - Scribd https://www.scribd.com/doc/.../Sophie-Wang-s-Phonics-Book-for-Adult-ESL-Student... Literacy - High School to Adult Illustrated LINC/Life Skill Theme Units Finally a phonics book specifically for adult and young adult ESL students. This book ...

3. Phonics - ESL Resources for Teachers: Printable Worksheets, Games ... www.stickyball.net/phonics.html

4. Wilson - Ten Simple Phonics Activities Requiring Little Preparation ... iteslj.org/Techniques/Wilson-PhonicsActivities.htmlby S Reading - ‎2008

5. Phonics Worksheets and Teaching Activties - ESL Resources   bogglesworldesl.com/phonics.htm  Free printable phonics worksheets for teaching ESL/EFL.



Hello Paul and all, I very much agree that there is a connection between phonics and pronunciation, especially certain spelling patterns, which I have been teaching students at all levels. As you note, Paul, students are often reluctant --lacking confidence-- to speak due to the often confusing spelling system and lack of regularity in sound symbol correspondence in English. I have found that drawing learners' attention to common spelling patterns is hugely helpful to them-- not only for spelling, but also for pronunciation. I'm looking forward to checking out the links you shared, Paul.

There is a lot to say on this topic, so I hope we can have a robust discussion here.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL CoP

Susan, you make a very important point abut the connection between spelling and phonics. Recently a student said to me: I pronounce what I read, and read what I pronounce.

Here is a good quote: 

"The most effective way to improve spelling is to improve pronunciation."
(Reference Manual For The Office, by Clifford R. House and Kathie Sigler, 1989, Southwest Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio.)

I also would suggest that using humor while teaching students how to pronounce certain sounds can be very effective. Think of the difficulty we have learning how to roll our Rs!!!