Brain-based Strategies and Tools
for Teaching Pronunciation
Color Vowel® combines powerful visual tools with brain-based language learning strategies. Our online courses for teachers will teach you practical, highly effective strategies to:
- Get students talking with clarity and confidence;
- Bridge the gap between spoken and written English;
- Provide English learners with a compelling pathway to mastery.
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The Color Vowel Conference is here!
English language teachers will gather on April 5-6, 2024 in Washington DC to share and build upon their shared interest in spoken English, pronunciation, phonological awareness, effective teaching, learner-centered instruction, and the Color Vowel® Approach. Learn more.
Call for Proposals
ELTS invites teachers, trainers, language coaches, tutors, volunteers, and anyone who works with English language learners or adjacent populations to submit a proposal. Submit a proposal.
Registration is Open
ELTS is committed to providing high-quality professional development with affordable registration fees. Special rates are available for presenters, conference volunteers, and graduate students. Register.
Teach English Phenomenally
Educating and inspiring teachers like you for over 20 years
We organize spoken English visually.
Our graphic organizer is a daily-use tool that enables learners to categorize words and phrases by their stressed vowel sound. Students love it, and I think you will, too!
-Karen Taylor, Co-Founder
Who We Help
Get Students Talking
When you're a trained Color Vowel® teacher, you know how to provide English learners with powerful strategies that enable them to notice language, establish new pronunciation habits, and build their English speaking confidence for life-long success.
Engage Learners Immediately
Color Vowel® provides learners of all ages with simple yet powerful brain-based strategies that build phonemic awareness, improve oral communication, and boost word learning.
No prior knowledge of phonetics is required -- we'll help you develop the sound awareness you need to teach spoken English with remarkable learner outcomes.
Teach Smarter, Not Harder
Color Vowel® provides you with a powerful framework for teaching English that transforms the way your classroom sounds and feels.
Instead of correcting students' pronunciation, Color Vowel® teachers prompt students' self-correction through the methodical use of gestures, images, and modeling. As you learn to 'teach' less, your students start talking more!
Connect with a Community
Get trained with Color Vowel® and join our professional learning community of global educators.
Be among the first to hear about upcoming workshops, new products, and free events like Fridays at Five.
What Teachers Say
“I can't thank you enough for an amazing experience at Color Vowel Basics. This approach provides the strategy and structure I was looking for on behalf of my students. The work you have done is truly remarkable. It's true that simplicity lies at the far side of complexity.”
“Color Vowel lifts the lid on the secrets of spoken English and gives learners clear, understandable, and effective tools for rapid improvement. It's a simple, powerful, and approachable way to tackle some of the hardest aspects of teaching English.”
“For me, the concept of long and short vowels never really worked. The Color Vowel Approach gives me a set of accurate, non-technical vocabulary with which I can use to communicate with my students in a way that accesses multiple parts of their brain in order for them to perceive sounds that are not in their native language.”
“The Color Vowel Chart provides an anchor that lets students produce and make sense of sounds even when they're not able to fully, consciously explain a certain pronunciation. It's a thread that I've carried through my teaching career since 2008 and it just works.”
“The Color Vowel Chart is deeper than it looks. The more phonological awareness a teacher has, the more that teacher can help learners develop their own phonological awareness.”
“The Color Vowel Approach enables me to fine-tune individual and group instruction because I have a way of assessing their language needs better. It helps learners to access vocabulary with greater precision.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Color Vowel® Chart for me?
If you identify with one or more of the following roles, then YES!
ESL/EFL teachers, content-area teachers, Speech therapists, reading specialists, literacy tutors, pronunciation/accent trainers, dialect coaches, and even choral directors use the Color Vowel® Chart.
The Chart is used across the U.S. and around the world by English language teachers and learners of all ages and across a range of programs including K-12 schools, adult literacy, community colleges, Intensive English Programs, and international graduate support programs, as well as in MA TESOL, TEFL certificate, and teacher education programs.
Is the Color Vowel® Chart appropriate for my learners?
The Color Vowel® Chart helps learners of all ages and proficiencies grow in their use of spoken and written English.
Advanced adult learners gain powerful strategies for speaking confidently in academic and workplace settings, while low-literacy adults and young language learners benefit from the meaningful use of color and the absence of additional terminology (such as the misleading reference to ‘long’ and ‘short’ vowels) as they learn to recognize relationships between how words sound and how words are spelled.
Learn more about alternative ways to talk about vowels in Color Vowel® Basics.
What’s the best way to get started with the Color Vowel® Chart?
This question is best answered by our favorite mantra:
Don't teach it. Just use it.
The Color Vowel® Chart is not something you 'show' or 'teach' – it's something you and your learners use and do to make sense of spoken English and how it relates to the written word.
The Chart itself is a visual and tactile touchstone for our multi-modal, brain-based approach to teaching English. Implemented effectively, the Color Vowel® Approach creates opportunities for learners to speak more while their teachers talk less. The best way to get started with the Chart and this powerful Approach is to purchase one of our starter kits and take our Color Vowel® Basics online course.
I’m already so busy, how will I have time to learn and implement a new tool?
The Color Vowel® Basics course is not a heavy lift in terms of time or energy, and you can implement the Approach in your classroom immediately. Our methodology is simple yet deep which means you don’t need to know it all in order to start using it. You’ll find that you’re actually saving time and getting better results as you integrate Color Vowel principles into every lesson.
How can I get my program or school to adopt Color Vowel®?
School districts, colleges, universities, and community education programs all over the United States and in countries around the world are investing in their teachers and learners by infusing their curriculum with the Color Vowel® Approach.
Administrators and program directors can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a quote for classroom materials or to learn more about our wide range of professional development services.
Our licensing and accreditation options enable English language programs to deliver cutting-edge instruction that attracts and retains motivated students and first-class faculty.
Why not just use phonetic symbols?
That’s an easy one! Phonetic symbols are great for linguists and teachers, but are confusing for many students, adding a layer of complexity to the already challenging English vowel system that students need to learn. Moreover, phonetic symbols have to be written in order to be used. (Think about it– apart from schwa, how many IPA symbols can you name?)
Turning to the board to write a symbol requires visual decoding and essentially disrupts the instructional focus on speech. Color Vowels are a simple yet powerful mnemonic that can be referred to both orally and in writing. Learn more about how Color Vowel gives you and your learners an easy way to talk about spoken English in our Color Vowel® Basics asynchronous course.