Phonics Essay

1919 words - 8 pages

IntroductionPhonics is a method of reading instruction that focuses on teaching students the sounds associated with letters and letter combinations. For example, when kindergartners are taught that the letter c says /c/ as in candy, a says /a/ as in apple, and t says /t/ as in tiger, and are later prompted to blend the sounds /c//a//t/ into "cat," they are learning to read with phonics. Because phonics unlocks word identification and a cascade of associated benefits, including fluency, spelling improvement, and comprehension, it has become, in recent years, the focus of important school improvement efforts in the United States and elsewhere.RESEARCH AND RECOMMENDATIONSReading researchers ...view middle of the document...

Good Phonics Instruction Is ExplicitPhonics instruction must be explicit-taught directly, actively, and clearly-and practiced until the content is mastered. Reading programs that focus on implicit or discovery methods of learning are less efficient, especially for children at risk for reading difficulties. Programs aligned with incidental or embedded phonics approaches, the so-called look-and-say or whole-word method, basal (controlled vocabulary) approaches, worksheets-only methods (without active teaching), or the Whole Language ideology of reading and literacy instruction typically lack systematic teaching of letter-sound associations. Most students require explicit instruction in sound-symbol correspondences of the alphabet letters and letter combinations; they do best when their teachers use active direct instruction methods.Effective Phonics Instruction Is SystematicIt does not work well to skip around in the phonics curriculum and teach, for example, the phonogram ing one day, prefixes the next day, and the sound for the letter s the third day. Beneficial phonics instruction must be systematic, orderly, and sequential. In general, teachers who teach systematically follow a phonics content sequence that progresses from easy to more difficult. Commercial phonics programs usually design instructional sequences similar to the one offered here.Sequence of Phonics Skills by Grade LevelPre-KindergartenPhonemic awareness skills (sound segmentation, etc.)Alphabet recognition, especially recognition of the lowercase letters (using ABC books, ABC songs, and engaging, fun letter-play activities)Sound-symbol correspondence of alphabet letters, short vowels (a, e, i, o, u) plus consonants (using puppets, alliterative stories, letter-sound pictures, multisensory, direct instruction, and visual-vocal participation.Letter formation practiceKindergartenPhonemic awareness skills (e.g., sound segmentation)Short vowels (a, e, i, o, u) plus consonantsLetter formation practiceBlending practice with easy consonant-vowel-consonant words (e.g., cat, bed, sit, log, sun)Reading and writing consonant-vowel-consonant words, word family words (e.g., cat, hat, fat, mat), and dictated wordsReading and writing short decodable stories and sentences (e.g., The dog had a big red hat.)Writing the letters of the alphabetFirst GradePhonemic awareness skills (e.g., sound segmentation)Short vowels (a, e, i, o, u) plus consonantsConsonant digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh)Consonant blends (bl, br, fl, sl, sm, st, tr, pr, str)Silent e (when the e at the end of the word makes the vowel long, as in same, note, tire, lute)Blending practice with consonant-vowel-consonant words and longer words with initial, medial, and final blends, digraphs, and diphthongsCompound words (e.g., postman, bedroom, cowboy)Vowel digraphs (ai, ay, ea, ee, oa, ow)Other vowel spelling patterns (oo, ou, ow, oi, and oy)Word families (e.g., same, game, tame, name)Endings (ed, ing, two sounds for y at the end of...

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