In order to have a true understanding of the purpose and function of letters and letter sounds, children must understand how words are represented in print, or concept of word.5 This means they know that words are collections of letters that represent a series of speech sounds that collectively represent a unit of meaning. They need to understand that each new word is signified by a space that does not contain any letters. They need to understand that you can see a word as well as say a word.
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:
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.
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.