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.
Also, we haven’t yet used ANY of the digital materials, because our little guy is more or less screen-free, but when he does start using screens, I’ll certainly set him up with the Hooked on Phonics app – I played with it a bit myself and I was impressed with the simplicity, ease of navigation, and the content (not super annoying as many kids digital products can be!).
This website is made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding between Buffalo State College and New York State Education Department, Office of Special Education. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect views or policies of the NYS Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the NYS Education Department.
Children are then introduced to vowel digraphs. A digraph is two vowels that together make one sound such as: /oa/, /oo/, /ee/, /ai/. They will move onto sounding out words such as deer, hair, boat, etc. and will be taught about split digraphs (or 'magic e'). They will also start to read words combining vowel digraphs with consonant clusters, such as: train, groan and stool.
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.
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, 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.)".
Time4Learning is today’s answer to a widely asked question: “How do I get my child interested in learning?” Parents need resources that can effectively serve their children through an approach that engages their children. Time4Learning’s online learning program is designed to do exactly that! With entertaining daily lessons, children are captivated and focused within the comfort of their own home.Learn more.
That said, I have been so pleasantly surprised at the leg up this experience has given him, already! He's still in the stage where he's mastering naming every letter of the alphabet, and identifying their sounds. In our house, the secondary challenge is that he's in a bilingual preschool, and is speaking as much Spanish as he is English. This is where I think Hooked on Phonics has really helped us. Where his teachers might say "ah" for "A" and we say "ay" for "A", he can do the lessons with me and point to letters on the page, making the difference between the names of the letters, and their sounds, more concrete. When he does Hooked on Phonics lessons with me, he knows this is how we see and say the sounds in English.