A common tool for teaching the alphabet is alphabet key words, such as Aa is for apple, Bb is for ball, and so on. The idea is to make alphabet learning easier by creating meaningful associations between the letter and a word that begins with that letter. Unfortunately, too often, alphabet key words are problematic, creating more confusion than clarity for young children. Good alphabet key words need to begin with one of the sounds commonly associated with that letter. For example, Oo is for octopus works—the first sound in octopus is the short o sound. However, Oo is for orange does not work. The o in orange is what we call an r-controlled vowel. It does not make its typical short or long vowel sound. Similarly, Tt is for thumb does not work because there is no /t/ sound in thumb—there is a th digraph (two letters representing one sound). Another pitfall to watch out for is an alphabet key word that begins with a letter name, which can be really confusing to children. For example, Ee is for elephant is confusing because it begins the letter name for Ll (“el”), and Cc is for cake is problematic because it begins with the letter name for Kk (“kay”).
For key words to do their job, children must be able to separate the first sound in the word from the rest of the word (e.g., to separate the /b/ from the /all/ in ball). Ideally, children develop this skill, called initial phoneme segmentation, during or before the prekindergarten year. However, not all children meet this expectation. Fortunately, you can work on this skill while teaching the alphabet, including alphabet key words. Research strongly suggests that phonemic awareness (conscious awareness of the individual sounds in spoken words—for example, recognizing that sheep has three sounds: /sh/, /ee/, and /p/), although an entirely oral skill, is actually best developed with accompanying letters. This initial phoneme segmentation issue is also why you should be judicious about using alphabet key words that begin with blends (two consonant letters pronounced in succession in a syllable, such as dr in drum); it is especially difficult for young children to separate the initial phoneme in a blend.
Endless Alphabet is a simple and very creative app with cute monsters and clever animations that provides interactive learning opportunities in reading, spelling, and vocabulary for toddlers and early learners. The app allows children to practice their alphabets and learning new words with animations demonstrating the meanings of the words in an unforgettable way .

To understand concept of word in print, children need to watch others reading print and pointing to words.6 In classrooms, this may be a teacher reading charts or big books to children and pointing to the words as they read. Teachers may also use pointers and sometimes ask children to point to words. In addition to watching others, children need to practice pointing to words themselves. A great way to do this is to allow children to point to words in a memorized line of print, in a dictated story of their own words, or in a simple book with short, repetitive sentences. Although it sounds like a really simple task, it is not. In fact, there are actually stages that occur as children learn to point to print. Specifically, they must gain control of multisyllabic words and show understanding that a word like elephant, with three syllables, is actually one unified word. When children cannot handle multisyllabic words, they will point to new words for each syllable in a word (e.g., if the text said “kittens cry,” the child would point at the word “kittens” for the syllable kit and then point at the word “cry” for the syllable tens).
By the end of kindergarten, students should know the letters and their corresponding sounds. Your homeschool phonics program should use reading activities that will help your student identify words that begin with the same sounds and reinforce letter recognition. Use reading activities that show your child the difference between upper and lowercase letters. 									

While most teachers and educational decision-makers recognize this, there may be a tendency in some classrooms, particularly in 1st grade, to allow phonics to become the dominant component, not only in the time devoted to it, but also in the significance attached. It is important not to judge children's reading competence solely on the basis of their phonics skills and not to devalue their interest in books because they cannot decode with complete accuracy. It is also critical for teachers to understand that systematic phonics instruction can be provided in an entertaining, vibrant, and creative manner.

Phonics for Reading is a research validated program that focuses on decoding, encoding (writing), fluency, and comprehension skills usually mastered in grades K to 3. The program uses explicit, teacher-directed instruction to introduce skills and strategies. Participants will learn the science behind the program as well as how to implement the program.
Schwa is the third sound that most of the single vowel spellings can represent. It is the indistinct sound of many a vowel in an unstressed syllable, and is represented by the linguistic symbol /ə/; it is the sound of the o in lesson, of the a in sofa. Although it is the most common vowel sound in spoken English, schwa is not always taught to elementary school students because some find it difficult to understand. However, some educators make the argument that schwa should be included in primary reading programmes because of its vital importance in the correct pronunciation of English words.
The use of phonics in American education dates at least to the work of Favell Lee Mortimer, whose works using phonics includes the early flashcard set Reading Disentangled (1834)[19] and text Reading Without Tears (1857). Despite the work of 19th-century proponents such as Rebecca Smith Pollard, some American educators, prominently Horace Mann, argued that phonics should not be taught at all. This led to the commonly used "look-say" approach ensconced in the Dick and Jane readers popular in the mid-20th century. Beginning in the 1950s, however, inspired by a landmark study by Dr. Harry E. Houtz, and spurred by Rudolf Flesch's criticism of the absence of phonics instruction (particularly in his popular book, Why Johnny Can't Read) phonics resurfaced as a method of teaching reading.
Scope and sequence is also important because it helps children to organize information into cognitive categories, or “file folders,” that support better cognitive storage and retrieval of information. For example, if one teaches information without a scope and sequence, one might move from teaching the short a sound in a consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) pattern (e.g., bag), to teaching the vowel digraph oa (e.g., boat), to teaching ch (e.g., chip), to teaching i_e (e.g., bike). It would be a lot easier to remember these patterns if they were taught in groups: for example, teaching all the short vowel sounds (a, e, i, o, and u), consonant digraphs that represent unique sounds (th, sh, ch), all the CVC-e (silent e) patterns (mate, Pete, bike, note, cute), and then both of the spelling patterns that represent the /oi/ sound (called a diphthong; oy and oi). If instruction follows a scope and sequence, the variations don’t seem random but rather work to form a category (e.g., “Oh this th is kind of like the ch, two letters that make a new consonant sound”).
Phonics for Reading is a research validated program that focuses on decoding, encoding (writing), fluency, and comprehension skills usually mastered in grades K to 3. The program uses explicit, teacher-directed instruction to introduce skills and strategies. Participants will learn the science behind the program as well as how to implement the program.
Sight words and high frequency words are associated with the whole language approach which usually uses embedded phonics. According to Put Reading First from the National Institute for Literacy,[11] embedded phonics is described as indirect instruction where "Children are taught letter-sound relationships during the reading of connected text. (Since children encounter different letter-sound relationships as they read, this approach is not systematic or explicit.)".
The need to explicitly teach letter-sound relationships in U.S. classrooms is settled science.1 However, too often such instruction is not provided in the most efficient or effective way. These instructional missteps mean that fewer children will develop strong word-reading skills. In addition, ineffective phonics instruction is likely to require more class time and/or later compensatory intervention, taking time away from the growth of other important contributors to literacy development. We have encountered many dozens, if not hundreds, of phonics faux pas. In this article, we focus on seven in early reading instruction that deserve our serious attention.
As you may have noticed phonics and phonemic awareness (the understanding that words are comprised of small segments of sound) are intimately connected. Phonics relies heavily on a reader’s phonemic awareness. The reader must not only understand that words are made up of phonemes (small units of sound), he must also know a number of phonemes. Since a reader’s primary phonemic awareness develops through speaking and listening, most children come to reading with many phonemes stored in their knowledge banks. Phonics instruction connects these phonemes with written letters so that they can transfer their knowledge of sounds to the printed word. This is why phonics instruction is an important component of early reading education.
Simplistic, broad generalizations or “rules” do not work. For example, if we say that silent e signals a long vowel sound all the time, then we have a lot of issues. But if the generalization is made more specific, it is more applicable. For example, the silent e pattern is consistent more than 75 percent of the time in a_e, i_e, o_e, and u_e, but only consistent 16 percent of the time with e_e.
The programme continues throughout the school years, by extending the earlier phonics teaching with further spelling, grammar and punctuation concepts. Each year of teaching provides continuous revision and consolidation of topics taught in previous years. Children are also taught the core concepts of grammar and punctuation, starting with simple age-appropriate definitions, which are gradually built on with each year of teaching. The teaching continues to be multi-sensory with actions and colour coding (fitting with Montessori) for parts of speech to help children develop their understanding of how language works. The systematic programme means children are given the tools that they need to independently write what they want clearly and with expression.
As well as working through the alphabet, and the sounds that each letter makes, Reading Eggs also includes lessons on phonics skills such as working with beginning and end blends of letters, the variety of sounds that vowels make, diphthongs, consonant letter sounds such as soft c, g, and y, silent letters, double letter sounds, word families, and how to work through words with more than one syllable.

Analogy phonics is a particular type of analytic phonics in which the teacher has students analyze phonic elements according to the phonogrammes in the word. A phonogramme, known in linguistics as a rime, is composed of the vowel and all the sounds that follow it in the syllable. Teachers using the analogy method assist students in memorising a bank of phonogrammes, such as -at or -am. Teachers may use learning "word families" when teaching about phonogrammes. Students then use these phonogrammes.
In the first 60 lessons, all of Reading Eggs’ books are highly decodable, using words that have been introduced and reinforced by the lessons. The program responds to readers at their level of ability, making it possible for children to consistently read at their own individual level. This is extremely beneficial for their learning and overall confidence.
Sifting through the various educational options can be confusing as parents try to find the best fit for their child and budget. Time4Learning shares Hooked On Phonics® belief in the importance of engaging children and the significance of phonics. Many families like Time4Learning’s convenience, appeal to the children, and educational effectiveness. Time4Learning’s approach integrates phonics into a broad language arts (and math) curriculum. Parents can decide how much of the extensive program to use since Time4Learning is student-paced.
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