Some people think that teaching letter names is essentially teaching their sounds, but unfortunately that is not the case in English. Some letter names don’t have a sound commonly associated with the letter at all. Neither Hh, Ww, nor Yy has its commonly associated sound in its name (e.g., there is no /h/, as in happy, in the name of the letter Hh (“aych”)). Knowing these letters’ names definitely does not lead children to know their associated sounds. Some other letters’ names contain one of the sounds commonly associated with the name but not the other. For example, Cc has one of its common sounds in its name (/s/) but not the other (/k/).
It can be a bit of a puzzle to work out how best to support your child through the early stages of reading, especially since teaching methods may have changed quite a bit since you were at school! Read on if you’d like to find out what to expect as your child builds their reading skills, how to help them – and how you can both have fun while you do so!
This is a great synopsis of the Alphabetic portion of the NRP report on Teaching Children to Read. For those willing to slog through the full report itself, there are many additional interesting nuggets discovered in this meta-analysis, such as the use of mnemonics for teaching letter-sound relations to kindergartners is supported by evidence, plus the portions devoted to reading fluency and comprehension.
Despite these different focuses, phonics instruction and phonemic awareness instruction are connected. In fact, phonemic awareness is necessary for phonics instruction to be effective. Before students can use a knowledge of sound-spelling relationships to decode written words, they must understand that words (whether written or spoken) are made up of sounds. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that a word is made up of a series of discrete sounds. Without this insight, phonics instruction will not make sense to students.
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.
Therefore, phonics instruction plays a key role in helping students comprehend text. It helps the student map sounds onto spellings, thus enabling them to decode words. Decoding words aids in the development of word recognition, which in turn increases reading fluency. Reading fluency improves reading comprehension because as students are no longer struggling with decoding words, they can concentrate on making meaning from the text.
Once children can identify the names of each letter, they can begin learning the most common sounds represented by each of the 26 letters of the alphabet.’s collection of The Letter Songs A–Z will help children identify those sounds, as will the hundreds of other games and activities such as the Alphabet Bubble Burst game and the book Alphabet in the Park.
Sifting through the various educational options can be confusing as parents try to find the best fit for their child and budget. Time4Learning shares Hooked On Phonics® belief in the importance of engaging children and the significance of phonics. Many families like Time4Learning’s convenience, appeal to the children, and educational effectiveness. Time4Learning’s approach integrates phonics into a broad language arts (and math) curriculum. Parents can decide how much of the extensive program to use since Time4Learning is student-paced.