Interact with the Chart

The Color Vowel® Chart is more than a visual tool; it is the powerful touchstone of the Color Vowel® Approach, a collection of powerful brain-based strategies for discovering, practicing, and mastering the rhythm and sound of English.

Click on each Color to hear the vowel sound

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Learn more about each Color Vowel.

View the entire Color Vowel Yoga video series.

Our Color Vowel app is here! Blue Canoe combines AI and speech recognition with Color Vowel-infused feedback to provide users with real-time feedback on their spoken English.

Request your free trial.


The Color Vowel® Chart was created by Karen Taylor and Shirley Thompson in 1999. The charts below serve as a brief visual history of the Color Vowel Chart while providing you with continued audio-enhanced access to the vowel sounds of English.


The 4th Edition Color Vowel Chart (2015):

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The 3rd Edition (2012) Western US Chart (2012):

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Our Upcoming Events
Color Vowel® Level 1 Basics
On Demand • asynchronous course

Color Vowel Basics© is an asynchronous, self-paced introduction to the Color Vowel® Approach. Complete four video-based modules and taking companion quizzes for each module at your own pace.

Color Vowel® Level 1 Practicum
Get certified! Choose a cohort with dates and times that work for you.

This live, interactive online course immerses you in the use the Color Vowel® Approach and our pronunciation app, Blue Canoe®. Expand your awareness as you master powerful, brain-based strategies for teaching learner pronunciation, vocabulary development, and oral fluency. Post technique practicum videos after each live session and receive personalized feedback from your Color Vowel® Coach.

Pure English Practice (PEP) Workout
Every month • 1st and 3rd Thursdays • 10-10:30 pm ET

Practice the rhythms and sounds of English and boost your speaking confidence with Pure English Practice, a brain-based pronunciation ‘workout’ for English learners. Teachers, invite your learners! Learners, invite your teachers! PEP happens on the first and third Thursday of each month.

To attend Pure English Practice, subscribe here. After subscribing, you will receive reminders and links for our next event.

Speak Confidently!: An English pronunciation course for non-native speakers
Aug 16 - Sept 13, 2022 • Tuesdays 8-9:30 pm

This course is for non-native English-speaking teachers and advanced English learners who wish to increase their comprehensibility and confidence in spoken English.

In this 5-session practice-based course taught by Jennifer Campion, Karen Taylor and their team of Color Vowel pronunciation coaches, participants will engage in a series of brain-based English pronunciation lessons and activities that build awareness of the sounds and rhythms of English for the purpose of being more confident in their spoken English.

English Learner Literacy: a 1-day workshop with Dr. Robin Barr and guests
September 2, 2022 • Friday, 10 am - 2 pm ET

English Learners struggle with traditional phonics programs. Learn how to use Color Vowel tools and strategies to help learners succeed.

This workshop is appropriate for ESL/EFL teachers, tutors, and reading specialists. No prior training in the Color Vowel® Approach is necessary.

Unable to attend live? This workshop will be recorded and and shared privately with all registrants. We have structured the workshop for live participation in a way that supports an enriching asynchronous experience!

Workshop Description
Whether you are a teacher, a literacy volunteer, a learning coach, or a teacher educator, this workshop will provide you with new insights and effective strategies that you can use right away.

In this one-day workshop with Dr. Robin Barr and special guests, participants will gain insight into what a good phonics program can achieve, where all phonics programs fall short, and how Color Vowels bridge the gap.

Workshop activities will include:

  • Understanding low literacy: Why do some learners struggle?
  • Introducing low-literacy learners to Color Vowels
  • Objects as friendly first words: Creating your menagerie
  • Three activities for building phonemic awareness
  • Speaking to write and writing to read: Learner-created books
Sound Awareness: A Level 2 Core workshop
September 9-30, 2022 • Fridays 1-2:30 pm ET

Phonological awareness is a person’s awareness of the sounds, rhythms, and intonations they use when speaking and when listening to the speech of others.

In this practice-based workshop, Dr. Robin Barr will lead participants through a series of discovery activities and mini-lectures aimed at increasing teachers’ sound awareness for the purpose of English language teaching.

This course is for teachers with Color Vowel® Level 1 certification and is a required course for Level 2 certification.

Color Vowel® Yoga: A Level 2 Core Workshop
Sept 10 - Oct 1, 2022 • Saturdays, 9-10:30 am ET

Color Vowel® Yoga is a collection of simple movements that parallel the movement of the jaw, lips, and tongue when producing the vowel sounds of English. These movements serve as physical anchors for producing sounds that the learner may not yet be able to perceive. In this practice-based workshop, participants increase their own phonological awareness as they gain confidence in leading Vowel Yoga and learn when to use Vowel Yoga as an instructional intervention.

This Level 2 workshop is open to Level 1 certified teachers or teachers currently enrolled in a Level 1 Color Vowel® Certification course.

Fundamentals of Teaching Spoken English (workshop series)
September through November, various dates and times

ELTS is proud to offer three new workshops for teachers this fall: Fundamentals of Intonation (September), Fundamentals of Thought Groups & Phrasing (October), and Fundamentals of Conversation Repair (November).

Vocabulary beyond word lists: A Level 2 elective workshop
October 6-27, 2022 • Thursdays 2-3:30 pm ET

Do you dread having to teach vocabulary? Do your students seem to forget vocabulary as soon as you move on to the next unit? In this 4-session workshop, we will approach vocabulary from a sound perspective to appreciate how word learning intersects with pronunciation, collocation, and the aural context. Participants will gain practical strategies to boost learner retention through both incidental and deliberate teaching.

Spelling Exploration: A Level 2 Core Workshop
October 8-29, 2022• Saturdays 9-10:30 am ET

Learn how taking a sound-based approach to spelling empowers learners to notice patterns and engage in life-long language discovery.

In this 4-week online workshop, participants will:

  • Explore ‘the problem of English’ as it relates to teaching spelling in ESL/EFL contexts;
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the Color Vowel Organizer for the purpose of connecting the spoken and written word.
  • Learn how to lead learners in a sound-based “spelling exploration” through use of the Spelling Exploration Worksheet, a simple but powerful graphic organizer.
  • Gain extensive practice in the Color Vowel® word mark-up method.
  • Conduct their own spelling explorations as a means of gaining practical insight into the way English works.
Level 2 Coaching Practicum
Oct 19 - Dec 14, 2022 • Wednesdays 1-2:30 pm ET

Gain pronunciation coaching experience and insight throughout this 8-week experience.

During the first two weeks, you will be trained to listen, identify, prioritize, and address learner pronunciation challenges by utilizing Color Vowel® strategies taught in the Level 2 Core workshops.

During the next five weeks, you will participate as a Coach in Speak Confidently!, our learner pronunciation course taught by Jennifer Campion and Karen Taylor. Working closely with your practicum mentor and coaching cohort, you will lead select class activities and provide weekly feedback to between 1-3 students enrolled in the course.

A final meeting on the eighth week provides us with an opportunities to reflect on lessons taught and lessons learned.

Prerequisites: All level 2 Core courses: Color Vowel Yoga, Spelling Exploration, Rhythm & Chants, and Sound Awareness.

Level 1 trained teachers may audit this course.

Speak Confidently!: An English pronunciation course for non-native speakers
Nov 2 - Dec 7, 2022 • Wednesdays, 1-2:30

This course is for non-native English-speaking teachers and advanced English learners who wish to increase their comprehensibility and confidence in spoken English.

In this 5-session practice-based course taught by Jennifer Campion, Karen Taylor and their team of Color Vowel pronunciation coaches, participants will engage in a series of brain-based English pronunciation lessons and activities that build awareness of the sounds and rhythms of English for the purpose of being more confident in their spoken English.

Course Dates

This is a five-week course that meets on Wednesdays from 1-2:30 pm ET.

Due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no class on Wednesday, November 23rd. Our live session dates are therefore November 2, 9, 16, 30, and December 7.

Teaching Literacy: A Level 2 elective workshop
Nov 4 - Dec 2, 2022 • Fridays, 1-2:30 pm ET

THE PROBLEM: English Learners struggle with phonics.

In a phonics framework, letters are treated as the primary or basic units for learning to read. However, because English does not have a one-to-one correspondence of sound to symbol, phonics instruction in English requires the learner to ‘sound out’ all the possible pronunciations of a spelling until they happen to hear a word they recognize. This process crucially depends on the learner already possessing a well-developed oral vocabulary to which they can connect the words they are trying to decode.

English learners, with their limited English vocabularies, need intervention that boosts their oral/aural word recognition as they learn to make use of the English spelling patterns presented in a high-quality phonics program.

THE SOLUTION: Complement phonics with Color Vowel Approach (CVA) strategies.

The Color Vowel Approach starts with oral words and phonemes as primary. The spellings of those sounds are treated as inherently secondary, mirroring natural language development in which the alphabet, reading, and writing, stem from spoken language.

Guided by Dr. Robin Barr, lead instructor at the Washington Literacy Center, participants will explore practical ways to enhance phonics programs with Color Vowel strategies.

Readers Theater: Rehearsing for fluency
Nov 9 - Dec 7, 2022 • Wednesdays, 7-8:30 pm ET

Readers Theater (RT) is a group read-aloud in which individuals perform level-appropriate scripts to tell a story cooperatively. Participants will learn how RT supports development of the learner’s external reading voice (rate, vocabulary, and pronunciation/ comprehensibility) as well as their “internal” reading voice (the voice they “hear” when reading silently), thereby strengthening both oral fluency and reading fluency.

Participants will learn how to guide students through a Readers Theater project from preparation to presentation. They will explore ways that maximize the repetition and noticing necessary to improve fluency in both reading and speaking. Participants will also review the suprasegmental skills of speaking: thought groups, focus words, linking, reduction, and intonation.

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