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How TRUST Works

One reason TRUST has been so successful for readers of every age and ability level is that it quickly instills a sense of confidence and hope.  The system is set up in such a way that only a few phonetic rules must be learned before multisyllable words can be introduced.  As soon as students realize that they are able to figure out longer, impressive-looking words, they feel accomplished and are eager to learn more.


The TRUST process begins with decoding and spelling one-syllable words with short vowels. The next level introduces two basic long-vowel rules in a way that immediately increases the confidence of the learners. Then they are taught how to handle vowels followed by r, and the two sounds of c & g.  Armed with these few skills, students are ready to take on multisyllable words.

As the material moves through all of the stages from the early steps of decoding words with short and long vowels to the final levels that include handling irregular words and more advanced generalizations, the author’s aim is to present each step so simply and clearly that young, beginning readers remain self-assured, and the doubts of problem readers are gradually dissolved.

Trust is then established: trust in the written language, and trust in their own ability to master it.

Word Lists

A key strategy behind TRUST is abundant reinforcement.  TRUST includes over 4,000 carefully sequenced words that are designed to teach and reinforce phonetic decoding at every level. 

For students who may recognize many of the words on sight, alternate lists of “nonsense words” are included along the way to ensure that these students have ample opportunity to practice their new decoding skills. These non-words rhyme with the corresponding lists of real words so that reading coaches can easily discern how each nonsense word should be pronounced.  For more on TRUST’s word lists, click here.

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