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).
Once they’ve learned to read words with the most common letter-sound combinations, in year or primary 1 children move on to learn lots alternative combinations. They practise reading increasingly complex words. By the time they finish their first year, most children will be well on the way to reading pretty much any familiar word in English! In their second year, children develop their skills still further, practising using phonics to read and spell words that are less familiar and more challenging.
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.
Spelling, including invented spelling, is an excellent way to instruct and reinforce letter-sound knowledge and phoneme awareness and to establish secure orthographic representations (sight words). Teachers must provide corrective feedback to ensure the learning of accurate spelling in order to help establish those words in long-term memory for reading.
As a homeschool Mom to 4 kids, one with dyslexia, I have been delightfully surprised with how excellent HOP is! My third child is only just 3, but I have been very pleased with his progress in a short amount of time. We are using the very first level which teaches the letter names and sounds as well as the skill of rhyming. Rhyming can be very challenging for some children, but after a couple of weeks of casual practice just using HOP, he's already excelling at it.
As well as working through the alphabet, and the sounds that each letter makes, Reading Eggs also includes lessons on phonics skills such as working with beginning and end blends of letters, the variety of sounds that vowels make, diphthongs, consonant letter sounds such as soft c, g, and y, silent letters, double letter sounds, word families, and how to work through words with more than one syllable.
You can teach phonics in many different ways. You can use word or picture cards, magnetic letters, letter tiles, games, or even more traditional methods. However, if you want phonics instruction to be effective, you need to know the content (e.g., consonants, short vowels, digraphs) that you are teaching and the order in which children typically learn, and thus that you will teach, that content. We call this a scope and sequence.8 Across decades, evidence has accumulated to suggest that systematic phonics instruction with a scope and sequence will produce better outcomes than instruction that does not follow a scope and sequence.9
During the late 1990s the whole language approach gained popularity in Portugal, but in a non-explicit form. Emphasis was placed on meaning, reading for pleasure, and developing a critical approach to the texts. Explicit phonemic awareness and explicit training for reading fluency were considered outdated by some teachers' organizations. Poor results in international comparisons led parents and schools to react to this approach and to insist on direct instruction methods. Later, during minister Nuno Crato’s tenure (2011-2015), who is known to be a vocal critic of constructivist approaches and a supporter of cognitive psychology findings, new standards ("metas") were put in place. The ministry convened a team led by a well-known specialist in reading, José Morais. This team introduced an explicit phonics teaching approach, put emphasis on decoding and reading fluency.