Press the player above and listen to this famous anonymous poem about the strangeness of English spelling vs pronunciation.

Check out the letter patterns in the poem: -ough/-ea-/-eat/-ear/-ose
It doesn't matter if the pattern makes a different sound in different words. The purpose is to develop your visual memory for what looks right.

Read the following poem or listen to it (I've adapted the poem a bit.)

 I take it you already know
Of tough and cough and dough?
But what about, hiccoughthorough and through?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,

And dead: it's said like bed, not bead --
For goodness sake don't call it 'deed'

Watch out for meat and great and threat...
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

(meat-suite, great-straight, threat-debt.)

There isn't a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, or broth in brother,

And here is not in there
But ear is in dear and fear
But not in bear and pear;

And then there's dose and rose
But lose, goose and choose,

And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,

And do and go and thwart and cart --
Come, come, I've hardly made a start!

dreadful language? Man alive!
I'd learned to speak it when I was five!

But will I write it before I die?
I hope so, I say with a sigh!