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."[44]
In 1984, the National Academy of Education commissioned a report on the status of research and instructional practices in reading education, Becoming a Nation of Readers.[20] Among other results, the report includes the finding that phonics instruction improves children's ability to identify words. It reports that useful phonics strategies include teaching children the sounds of letters in isolation and in words, and teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of words. It also states that phonics instruction should occur in conjunction with opportunities to identify words in meaningful sentences and stories.
Alphabet key words also need to be depicted clearly in a photo or drawing, not easily confused with other items, and they should be words that are known to or can be readily learned by children. We recommend two alphabet key words for the letters c, g, a, e, i, o, and u—one for each of their two common sounds. Caution should be exercised in using children’s names as key words, as some do not make a sound typically associated with the letter in English (e.g., Juan). In these cases, we suggest using the child’s name to show the shape and name of the letter but to focus on a different alphabet key word for the sound.
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!!
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.
At the very core of phonics lies the alphabet. In order to master phonics a person must master the alphabet. Letters then need to be connected to their corresponding sounds. As we know as English speakers, this is easier said than done. Many letters can represent a number of different sounds. Thus learning phonics is an ongoing process for a developing reader.
Short vowels are the five single letter vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, when they produce the sounds /æ/ as in cat, /ɛ/ as in bet, /ɪ/ as in sit, /ɒ/ or /ɑ/ as in hot, and /ʌ/ as in cup. The term "short vowel" is historical, and meant that at one time (in Middle English) these vowels were pronounced for a particularly short period of time; currently, it means just that they are not diphthongs like the long vowels.
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 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.
In 1984, the National Academy of Education commissioned a report on the status of research and instructional practices in reading education, Becoming a Nation of Readers.[20] Among other results, the report includes the finding that phonics instruction improves children's ability to identify words. It reports that useful phonics strategies include teaching children the sounds of letters in isolation and in words, and teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of words. It also states that phonics instruction should occur in conjunction with opportunities to identify words in meaningful sentences and stories.
English has absorbed many words from other languages throughout its history, usually without changing the spelling of those words. As a result, the written form of English includes the spelling patterns of many languages (Old English, Old Norse, Norman French, Classical Latin and Greek, as well as numerous modern languages) superimposed upon one another.[7] These overlapping spelling patterns mean that in many cases the same sound can be spelled differently and the same spelling can represent different sounds. However, the spelling patterns usually follow certain conventions.[8] In addition, the Great Vowel Shift, a historical linguistic process in which the quality of many vowels in English changed while the spelling remained as it was, greatly diminished the transparency of English spelling in relation to pronunciation.
After they’ve gained phonemic awareness and early phonics skills, students move even closer to learning to read. With Time4Learning, 1st graders begin learning phonics online by translating syllables into words and focusing on phonetic spelling strategies. In 2nd grade, students advance their phonics knowledge by decoding multisyllabic words and recognizing word roots, prefixes and suffixes.
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. 									

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.

Your child will probably learn phonics in kindergarten through second grade. In kindergarten, children usually learn the sounds of the consonant letters (all letters except the vowels a, e, i, o, and u). First- and second-graders typically learn all the sounds of letters, letter combinations, and word parts (such as “ing” and “ed”). They practice reading and spelling words containing those letters and patterns. Second-graders typically review and practice the phonics skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic.
Indeed, phonics reading is very important in the education of children. The report of National Reading Panel indicates that teaching children phonics will help them in many ways in life. In the first instance, phonics reading is very important in helping children to learn how to spell words. It will be impossible for a person to spell any word correctly if the person is not able to recognize the sounds of the letters used in forming the words. When a child is taught phonics, the child will be able to recognize sounds in words and will be able to spell them correctly.
These free phonics worksheets may be used independently and without any obligation to make a purchase, though they work well with the excellent Phonics DVD and Phonics Audio CD programs developed by Rock 'N Learn. You are not required to register in order to use this site. These free phonics worksheets and lesson extensions are provided to you compliments of Rock ’N Learn with our sincere desire that they assist students and raise awareness of other Rock ’N Learn programs.
In addition, it is not clear how many months or years a phonics program should continue. If phonics has been systematically taught in kindergarten and 1st grade, should it continue to be emphasized in 2nd grade and beyond? How long should single instruction sessions last? How much ground should be covered in a program? Specifically, how many letter-sound relations should be taught, and how many different ways of using these relations to read and write words should be practiced for the benefits of phonics to be maximized? These questions remain for future research.
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.
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