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.
Phonics is the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. Children's reading development is dependent on their understanding of the alphabetic principle — the idea that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language. Learning that there are predictable relationships between sounds and letters allows children to apply these relationships to both familiar and unfamiliar words, and to begin to read with fluency.
Imagine going to work for a shipbuilding company. You go to work the first day and are schooled in all the different types of bolts, screws, and nails. You learn their names, the different sizes, and the different types, but you never learn that their purpose is to join pieces of metal and that those pieces of metal are used to build ships! Although this situation is clearly ridiculous, it is actually analogous to what we see in some prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Children are being taught to name letters or even identify the sounds that the letters represent, but they are unclear about why they are learning it. Letter-sound knowledge is being learned in a vacuum; the child has no context for how to use the information, no “big picture.”
Time4Learning’s reading program includes phonetic-based lessons, helping children to acquire blending skills, to deconstruct sounds, and to approach the pronunciation of unfamiliar words. In addition as a literature-based feature, children are provided vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension and writing components. The strategic combination is a successful tool in giving children the opportunity to explore and identify all facets of reading.
In systematic or explicit phonics, students are taught the rules and the exceptions, they are not instructed to memorize words. Memorizing sight words and high frequency words has not been found to help fluency. Put Reading First adds that "although some readers may recognize words automatically in isolation or on a list, they may not read the same words fluently when the words appear in sentences in connected text. Instant or automatic word recognition is a necessary, but not sufficient, reading skill. Students who can read words in isolation quickly may not be able to automatically transfer this "speed and accuracy".
As children become readers, they need to understand and use the relationship between letters and sounds to read words. Phonics requires knowledge of letter recognition, sound recognition, and their associations. This means that children must recognize letters in words, and then produce their corresponding sounds to read words. Fortunately, there are fun activities that you can do with your child to promote phonics!
Then, usually in reception or primary 1, the letters of the alphabet are introduced in a set order, and children learn one sound for each letter. At that point, they can sound out and read simple, short words like ‘c-a-t, cat’ and ‘s-u-n, sun’. Next, children learn that some letters make different sounds when you put them together, like ‘sh’, ‘ee’ and ‘ai’.
Hooked on Phonics is a commercial brand of educational materials, originally designed for reading education through phonetics. First marketed in 1987, it used systematic phonics and scaffolded stories to teach letter–sound correlations (phonics) as part of children's literacy. The program has since expanded to encompass a wide variety of media, including books, computer games, music, videos, and flash cards in addition to books in its materials, as well as to include other subject areas. The target audience for this brand is primarily individuals and home school parents. The product was advertised extensively on television and radio throughout the 1990s.
Short vowel+consonant patterns involve the spelling of the sounds /k/ as in peek, /dʒ/ as in stage, and /tʃ/ as in speech. These sounds each have two possible spellings at the end of a word, ck and k for /k/, dge and ge for /dʒ/, and tch and ch for /tʃ/. The spelling is determined by the type of vowel that precedes the sound. If a short vowel precedes the sound, the former spelling is used, as in pick, judge, and match. If a short vowel does not precede the sound, the latter spelling is used, as in took, barge, and launch.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as too much phonics instruction. We have seen prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms in which the better part of the day is focused on letter-sound instruction (and often in a manner inconsistent with what research would recommend). This is problematic because it leaves insufficient time for many other important areas of development. For example, vocabulary and concept knowledge, which are strong predictors of long-term reading and writing success, also need attention. In fact, vocabulary knowledge affects word-reading development. We sometimes cannot even know whether we have read a word accurately unless we already have the word in our vocabulary. Is the word lemic pronounced with a short e, like lemon, or a long e, like lemur? Unless you already know this word, you aren’t sure. For children trying to learn to read words with low vocabulary knowledge, such uncertainty is common.
The easiest words are those that are spelled the same way as they sound. A phoneme is a sound, a grapheme is the written representation of that sound, the word "sound" has four phonemes: /s/ /ou/ /n/ and /d/. Words like bed, dark, sun and computer, have all their phonemes correspond with their graphemes and are therefore considered easier. Words like "bear" compared to "bare", or "reign" "rain" and "crane" are more difficult, as the same phoneme is represented by a different grapheme.
ABCmouse.com’s phonics curriculum helps teach children the relationship between each letter of the alphabet and their sounds in a fun and interactive environment. With thousands of engaging learning activities, including games, books, songs, and more, and an award-winning preschool–kindergarten curriculum, your child will learn to love to read at ABCmouse.com.