Nell K. Duke is a professor of language, literacy, and culture, and a professor in the combined program in education and psychology, at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Heidi Anne E. Mesmer is a professor of literacy in the School of Education at Virginia Tech. A former third-grade teacher, her work focuses on beginning reading materials and text difficulty.
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.
Teachers should use picture mnemonics (Drawings of letters that are embedded in a picture with the items in each picture beginning with the sound of the letter embedded within in. Example: Itchy’s Alphabet)  Students are trained to notice the initial sounds in words along with the embedded picture mnemonics. Using pictures in which the letter can be logically or meaningfully embedded appears to be more effective than learning letters by themselves or with non-embedded keyword pictures.
HOP helped my son so much!! The leg up it gave him in school was indescribable!! I was a poor reader and hated to be called on in class but he excelled in reading and comprehension!! He was able to bypass all the pitfalls I fell in... self doubt, embarrassment, dread... that I suffered thru!! It's pricey, it was back then too, but I would do it again if I had the chance!! In a heartbeat!! I want my grandchildren to excell!! I will do whatever I have to to insure that they have the leg up that I so wish I had had all those years ago!!

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.
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.
Alongside this process of learning to decode (read) words, children will need to continue to practise forming letters which then needs to move onto encoding. Encoding is the process of writing down a spoken word, otherwise known as spelling. They should start to be able to produce their own short pieces of writing, spelling the simple words correctly. 									

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”).
We often observe phonics instruction that has some strengths but also some gaps. Effective phonics instruction is multifaceted. You’ve likely already heard about the need for explicit instruction. Explicit instruction is direct, precise, and unambiguous (e.g., telling children what sound the letters sh represent together, rather than making the connection indirectly or asking them to figure it out themselves). You probably also realize the need to apply general learning principles (e.g., specific feedback). Some other facets that must be present are:
Phonics Genius includes over 6,000 words grouped by phonics sound, so it is fully loaded to teach your child about phonics. The app includes several pages through which you can scroll and find the particular sound you want to work on. You can work on sounds as well as the beginning and ending of words. Phonics Genius provides three different modes of learning, in addition to multiple quiz modes designed as fun and interactive games. The quizzes are designed according to different levels of learning beginning with two words and range from easy to challenging. 
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.)".
abc PocketPhonics uses a phoneme-centered approach to teaching kids to read. When kids see a phoneme, they say it, write it, and then use it in a word. When they've completed a packet of phonemes and word constructions, they get a number of stars (from one to three) based on how well they traced the letters and how many mistakes they made choosing phonemes to form the 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.
Once students grasp the alphabet, and know the sound each letter represents they continue on to blend these letter-sound pairings together to read a word. They can then distinguish between similar sounds (e.g. “three,” “free,” and “tree), and phonics success is just around the corner. An effective homeschool phonics curriculum will involve frequent reinforcement and review of these skills.
Most poor readers tend to rely so heavily on one reading strategy, such as the use of context and picture clues, that they exclude other strategies that might be more appropriate. To become skilled, fluent readers, children need to have a repertoire of strategies to draw on. These strategies include using a knowledge of sound-spelling relationships — in other words, an understanding of phonics. In addition, research has shown that skilled readers attend to almost every word in a sentence and process the letters that compose each of these words.
Dig right into phonics books to give him a head start in reading comprehension. Many phonics programs include books that are written specifically for beginning readers. Sit down for some one-on-one time to tackle letter sounds and sight words. You can make reading fun for him, which will make him look forward to sitting down with a good book in the future.

Thus, one concern is how to maintain consistency of instruction while still encouraging the unique contributions of teachers. Other programs require a sophisticated knowledge of spelling, structural linguistics, or word etymology. In view of the evidence showing the effectiveness of systematic phonics instruction, it is important to ensure that the issue of how best to prepare teachers to carry out this teaching effectively and creatively is given high priority.
Increase the difficulty by focusing on vowels and combinations. Eventually, you can move on to having the child sort pictures according to their medial sound represented by their vowel pattern — for instance: /e/: seal, peas, read, team, wheel; /o/: boat, coat, toad, road. Likewise, you can have them sort according to the words’ beginning digraphs — such as: chair, cherries, shoe, sheep, thread, three, wheat, whiskers.[8]

You may choose to instead buy the contents of this website as books and CDs. In that case, you can buy sets of our course from the store. Click on a set to purchase all the courseware. Please note that the contents of the hard copies are the same as the online materials, but without updates. If you would like both online access and books, contact us for discounts.
Once students grasp the alphabet, and know the sound each letter represents they continue on to blend these letter-sound pairings together to read a word. They can then distinguish between similar sounds (e.g. “three,” “free,” and “tree), and phonics success is just around the corner. An effective homeschool phonics curriculum will involve frequent reinforcement and review of these skills.
As a homeschool Mom to 4 kids, one with dyslexia, I have been delightfully surprised with how excellent HOP is! My third child is only just 3, but I have been very pleased with his progress in a short amount of time. We are using the very first level which teaches the letter names and sounds as well as the skill of rhyming. Rhyming can be very challenging for some children, but after a couple of weeks of casual practice just using HOP, he's already excelling at it.

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.
I remember growing up with HOP and it is and has always been a great learning tool to teach kids how to read--and read well. My son is a first grader and they don't use HOP to teach reading in his school, but I wanted my preschool daughter to get a head start by using this program. I wish I would have used it with my son. I was skeptical about the DVD at first, but the music and graphics are actually really fun and entertaining. As parents, we all know how cheesy kids' learning tools can be, but this is not one of them. My daughter likes the book as well and it is pretty good at reinforcing what the letters look like. I do wish the DVD was broken down a bit more and focused on one letter thoroughly before moving onto the next. Fortunately, my daughter was in my son's kindergarten class a lot last year because I was a volunteer in there so she picked up on a lot the letter sounds and letter recognition from that. But again, the video and songs are fun and do offer a quick visual and auditory glimpse at the letters and their sounds.
The step-by-step approach, with reviews built in via songs and ebooks, is very effective for teaching reading. Teachers will appreciate the mix of phonics and sight words, and kids will enjoy the variety of delivery -- songs, games, and books -- and the predictability of how each step advances. Though $8.99 per month (or $49.99 for a lifetime subscription) might seem expensive, teachers get a step-by-step curriculum for an entire class of students, which can be reset every year and reused for a new class of students. Differentiation is easy as well, as teachers can unlock all content for students who can already read, allowing them to review at their own pace. Kids can also practice writing using the words in the writing section.
Time4Learning is a non-contract binding program featuring content and curriculum from multiple subject areas. Time4Learning is offered at a surprisingly low cost. Parents find that Time4Learning’s cost for six months is less than the monthly cost of most tutoring centers. As an added bonus, Time4Learning also includes a two-week money-back guarantee. Learn More
Phonics instruction should be explicit rather than implicit. Implicit instruction relies on readers "discovering" clues about sound-spelling relationships; good readers can do this, but poor readers are not likely to do so. Explicit instruction is the most effective type of phonics instruction, especially for children at risk for reading difficulties.
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.
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