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 reading is also necessary for the improvement of a child's reading comprehension. It is impossible for somebody to understand a word that is not properly pronounced. When a child learns how to pronounce a word very well, the child will be able to comprehend what he or she reads. Reading comprehension is another benefit that can be derived from phonics reading. Phonics reading will also help a child in acquiring more vocabulary on daily basis. When a child is able to pronounce a word correctly, the child will be able to understand the word. Children normally use in their words that they understand in their daily speech.
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.
For lots of children, their second year is the time when they really put all the phonics they know into practice, and learn to read longer and slightly more complex stories and non-fiction books. The focus in year 2 is not so much on using phonics for reading, as by now many children know most of the phonics they need. There’s more of a shift to using phonics for spelling, so that children use the phonics they know to help them work out how to spell a wider range of words.
Phonics is knowing that sounds and letters have a relationship — it's that simple, and that complex. It is the link between what we say and what we can read and write. Phonics offers your beginning reader the strategies she needs to sound out words. For example, she learns that the letter D has the sound of "d" as in "doll." Then she learns how to blend letter sounds together to make words like dog.
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) 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.
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In 1996 the California Department of Education took an increased interest in using phonics in schools. And in 1997 the department called for grade one teaching in concepts about print, phonemic awareness, decoding and word recognition, and vocabulary and concept development.  Then, in 2014 the Department stated "Ensuring that children know how to decode regularly spelled one-syllable words by mid-first grade is crucial". It goes on to say that "Learners need to be phonemically aware (especially able to segment and blend phonemes)". In grades two and three children receive explicit instruction in advanced phonic-analysis and reading multi-syllabic and more complex words.
In the reading skills pyramid, a visual illustration of the process kids go through when learning to read, phonics follows closely behind phonemic awareness. Once children understand that letters have associated sounds, they begin to make relationships between those sounds and spelling. This is the skill that helps beginning readers decode — or sound out — new words. The key elements of reading are:
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Recently, the National Reading Panel, composed of experts in the field of literacy, was asked by the United States Congress to examine the research on the teaching of reading. A subgroup of the National Reading Panel reviewed 38 studies to determine what the research says about the teaching of phonics. To ensure the soundness of its findings, the National Reading Panel chose to review only studies that met rigorous criteria for research studies.
Phonics for Reading has three levels and contains placement tests that can be used for program entry or to measure growth at the end of the year. Level I of Phonics for Reading contains 30 teacher directed lessons with a focus on short vowels, consonants, consonant blends, and digraphs. Level II contains 32 teacher- directed lessons and progresses with vowel combinations, r-controlled vowel sounds, common endings, and CVCe words. Level III contains 36 teacher directed lessons and expands concepts with vowel/letter combinations, common prefixes and suffixes, minor consonant sounds for c and g, and minor vowel sound combinations. Levels II and III have fluency-building activities and directions for assessing fluency. Each level of Phonics for Reading has ten activities that can be used to formally measure growth through the program.
The executive summary states, "The evidence is clear ... that direct systematic instruction in phonics during the early years of schooling is an essential foundation for teaching children to read. Findings from the research evidence indicate that all students learn best when teachers adopt an integrated approach to reading that explicitly teaches phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary knowledge and comprehension." The Inquiry Committee also states that the apparent dichotomy between phonics and the whole-Language approach to teaching "is false". However, it goes on to say "It was clear, however, that systematic phonics instruction is critical if children are to be taught to read well, whether or not they experience reading difficulties."
Diphthongs are linguistic elements that fuse two adjacent vowel sounds. English has four common diphthongs. The commonly recognized diphthongs are /aʊ/ as in cow and /ɔɪ/ as in boil. Three of the long vowels are also in fact combinations of two vowel sounds, in other words diphthongs: /aɪ/ as in "I" or mine, /oʊ/ as in no, and /eɪ/ as in bay, which partly accounts for the reason they are considered "long".