The evidence is clear that young children benefit from opportunities to read text that emphasizes letter-sound relationships they have learned to date.11 This reinforces the value of their hard work and of using decoding to read words. Children’s reading opportunities should not be restricted to decodable texts, or those with only letter sounds they have been taught, but such texts should be a regular part of the reading diet. TextProject.org is a great resource for texts, and information about texts, that support beginning readers to learn to decode, without being as boring or unnatural as some decodable texts are.
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”).
Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read is an award-winning program that has helped over 5 million kids become confident readers. The Learn to Read program is based on research and approved by the Children’s Reading Foundation. Designed in conjunction with leading educators, award-winning authors, teachers and parents, Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read uses a proven, simple, and fun method to give your child a strong foundation in phonics and reading skills. The complete Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read kit contains all 8 levels of the award-winning program, from Pre-K to 2nd Grade.

^ "National Reading Panel (NRP) – Publications and Materials – Summary Report". National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 2000. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10.


To be able to make use of letter-sound information, children need phonemic awareness. That is, they need to be able to blend sounds together to decode words, and they need to break spoken words into their constituent sounds to write words. Programs that focus too much on the teaching of letter-sound relations and not enough on putting them to use are unlikely to be very effective.
That said, I have been so pleasantly surprised at the leg up this experience has given him, already! He's still in the stage where he's mastering naming every letter of the alphabet, and identifying their sounds. In our house, the secondary challenge is that he's in a bilingual preschool, and is speaking as much Spanish as he is English. This is where I think Hooked on Phonics has really helped us. Where his teachers might say "ah" for "A" and we say "ay" for "A", he can do the lessons with me and point to letters on the page, making the difference between the names of the letters, and their sounds, more concrete. When he does Hooked on Phonics lessons with me, he knows this is how we see and say the sounds in English.
Students can use the app individually, with each student totally engaged and working at his or her own pace, freeing the teacher to pull students for individual reading instruction. The videos could be shown to the whole class, introducing letter sounds or reviewing sight words. The ebooks are frustration-free read-alouds to show kids that they can read. Students can work at their own pace, allowing advanced readers to move more quickly, or teachers could build a semester-long curriculum, covering one step per week.
Phonics instruction has a strong impact on the reading abilities of young children. Those receiving phonics instruction in the early grades (K-1) showed significant gains in their reading comprehension and spelling abilities and moderate growth in oral reading skills. Studies show that children in grades 2-6 also show growth in these areas, but theirs is not as considerable as that seen in primary grade students. At the upper grades, phonics instruction has a positive impact on the reading abilities of disabled, low achieving non-disabled students as well as those from low socio-economic backgrounds. These groups of children showed growth in their abilities to decode and spell new words. However, their reading comprehension skills were not affected by phonics instruction.
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.
Once children have mastered the sounds of each letter, they can learn how to sound out simple words with consonant–vowel–consonant patterns, such as pig, dog, hat, and so on. At ABCmouse.com, we provide hundreds of fun and engaging activities that help teach children to sound out common words as well as common word families (words that have the same ending sounds and letter combinations, such as hot, pot, and not).
When students log in, they choose a subject, select a chapter, pick a lesson and complete the activities. A bright green arrow tells them where they left off, and completed work is clearly labeled with a check-mark or a gold star. Visual and auditory prompts guide students through the lessons making them easy for young learners to follow, and an online playground (controlled by parents) rewards and motivates them to finish their lessons.
Students can use the app individually, with each student totally engaged and working at his or her own pace, freeing the teacher to pull students for individual reading instruction. The videos could be shown to the whole class, introducing letter sounds or reviewing sight words. The ebooks are frustration-free read-alouds to show kids that they can read. Students can work at their own pace, allowing advanced readers to move more quickly, or teachers could build a semester-long curriculum, covering one step per week.
For key words to do their job, children must be able to separate the first sound in the word from the rest of the word (e.g., to separate the /b/ from the /all/ in ball). Ideally, children develop this skill, called initial phoneme segmentation, during or before the prekindergarten year. However, not all children meet this expectation. Fortunately, you can work on this skill while teaching the alphabet, including alphabet key words. Research strongly suggests that phonemic awareness (conscious awareness of the individual sounds in spoken words—for example, recognizing that sheep has three sounds: /sh/, /ee/, and /p/), although an entirely oral skill, is actually best developed with accompanying letters. This initial phoneme segmentation issue is also why you should be judicious about using alphabet key words that begin with blends (two consonant letters pronounced in succession in a syllable, such as dr in drum); it is especially difficult for young children to separate the initial phoneme in a blend.
Children in Year 2 will be learning spelling rules, such as adding suffixes to words (such as -ed, -ing, -er, -est, -ful, -ly, -y, -s, -es, -ment and -ness). They will be taught rules on how to change root words when adding these suffixes (for example, removing the 'e' from 'have' before adding 'ing') and then move onto harder concepts, such as silent letters (knock, write, etc) and particular endings (le in bottle and il in fossil). 
Synthetic phonics, also known as blended phonics, is a method employed to teach children to read by blending the English sounds to form words. This method involves learning how letters or letter groups represent individual sounds, and that those sounds are blended to form a word. For example, shrouds would be read by pronouncing the sounds for each spelling "/ʃ, r, aʊ, d, z/" and then blending those sounds orally to produce a spoken word, "/ʃraʊdz/." The goal of either a blended phonics or synthetic phonics instructional programme is that students identify the sound-symbol correspondences and blend their phonemes automatically. Since 2005, synthetic phonics has become the accepted method of teaching reading (by phonics instruction) in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the US, a pilot programme using the Core Knowledge Early Literacy programme that used this type of phonics approach showed significantly higher results in K-3 reading compared with comparison schools.[14]
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.

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.


The key skill in phonics is to learn the letters and the sounds they make and how to put them together to make and read simple words.Our selection of phonics apps cover important phonics topics for a variety of ages and grade levels. From animal sounds to consonant blends to diphthongs to rhyming words, your child will find a variety of apps that fit his ability. 
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.
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. 			

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.
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]
Analogy phonics is a particular type of analytic phonics in which the teacher has students analyze phonic elements according to the phonogrammes in the word. A phonogramme, known in linguistics as a rime, is composed of the vowel and all the sounds that follow it in the syllable. Teachers using the analogy method assist students in memorising a bank of phonogrammes, such as -at or -am. Teachers may use learning "word families" when teaching about phonogrammes. Students then use these phonogrammes.
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.
I am using this product as a reading guide for my 2and 4 year Olds. My 4 year old absolutely loves it. I adjust our focus based on the knowledge that she already has. As a mom it makes me feel confident that I can teach her how to read. Prior to getting this I didn't know where to start. She already knew her abcs and letter sounds but we are doing the whole course anyway. I am mixing some more challenging lessons in so that she keeps her focus and then we go back to the 'easy stuff' to help her feel successful if she gets frustrated. I will start my 2 year old in a simplified version of the first lesson group in the fall. This product comes highly recommended.
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