Phonics is one of the primary building blocks of reading. Without an understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds, reading cannot occur. This multifaceted connection between print and pronunciation is an important component of any instructional program in reading because it provides readers with tools for discovering new written words.
Also, we haven’t yet used ANY of the digital materials, because our little guy is more or less screen-free, but when he does start using screens, I’ll certainly set him up with the Hooked on Phonics app – I played with it a bit myself and I was impressed with the simplicity, ease of navigation, and the content (not super annoying as many kids digital products can be!).

Embedded phonics is the type of phonics instruction used in whole language programmes. Although phonics skills are de-emphasised in whole language programmes, some teachers include phonics "mini-lessons" in the context of literature. Short lessons are included based on phonics elements that students are having trouble with, or on a new or difficult phonics pattern that appears in a class reading assignment. The focus on meaning is generally maintained, but the mini-lesson provides some time for focus on individual sounds and the symbols that represent them. Embedded phonics differs from other methods in that the instruction is always in the context of literature rather than in separate lessons, and the skills to be taught are identified opportunistically rather than systematically.
Phonics instruction must be informed by our ongoing observation and assessment of children’s phonics knowledge and word-reading skills. We should respond when we notice that a child is confused, is insecure with a particular skill, or has had a major breakthrough. If we are not responsive to our students, some students are likely to be left behind in their word-reading development.
Recently, the National Reading Panel, composed of experts in the field of literacy, was asked by the United States Congress to examine the research on the teaching of reading. A subgroup of the National Reading Panel reviewed 38 studies to determine what the research says about the teaching of phonics. To ensure the soundness of its findings, the National Reading Panel chose to review only studies that met rigorous criteria for research studies.
The complexities of letter names in English might lead you to think we should not teach letter names at all, but research suggests that teaching letter names is still worthwhile7—it just needs to be accompanied by lots of attention to the sound or sounds commonly associated with each letter and by a thorough understanding of the challenges posed by English letter names. A teacher with such knowledge would understand, for example, why a young child might spell the word daisy as WAZ. Why? Sometimes children write “W” for the /d/ sound because the letter name for Ww—“double-u”—begins with the /d/ sound. The next sound we hear in daisy is the letter name for Aa (the long a sound), and the third and fourth sounds in daisy are the name of the letter Zz (“zee”).
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. 			

The need to explicitly teach letter-sound relationships in U.S. classrooms is settled science.1 However, too often such instruction is not provided in the most efficient or effective way. These instructional missteps mean that fewer children will develop strong word-reading skills. In addition, ineffective phonics instruction is likely to require more class time and/or later compensatory intervention, taking time away from the growth of other important contributors to literacy development. We have encountered many dozens, if not hundreds, of phonics faux pas. In this article, we focus on seven in early reading instruction that deserve our serious attention.
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.
There has been much research all over the world on Jolly Phonics, which can be viewed here. The research shows that the progress made by children using Jolly Phonics far exceeds that of children not taught using a synthetic phonics approach. It is effective across the ability range, with boys doing just as well as girls, while those with English as their second language can do as well as children who have it as their first.

Increase the difficulty by focusing on vowels and combinations. Eventually, you can move on to having the child sort pictures according to their medial sound represented by their vowel pattern — for instance: /e/: seal, peas, read, team, wheel; /o/: boat, coat, toad, road. Likewise, you can have them sort according to the words’ beginning digraphs — such as: chair, cherries, shoe, sheep, thread, three, wheat, whiskers.[8]
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. 			

Jolly Phonics is a comprehensive programme, based on the proven, fun and muliti-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets children reading and writing from an early age. This means that we teach letter sounds as opposed to the alphabet. These 42 letter sounds are phonic building blocks that children, with the right tools, use to decode the English language. When reading a word, they recognise the letters and blend together the respective sounds; when writing a word they identify the sounds and write down the corresponding letters. These skills are called blending and segmenting. These are two of the five skills that children need to master phonics:

Our field has long had a problem with teachers devoting an inadequate amount of time to phonics instruction. Although some children will pick up word reading with little instructional effort, many require considerable instruction to master the complex task of looking at a series of lines and curves to ascertain the spoken word they represent. In languages in which there is a relatively simple relationship between letters and sounds, such as Finnish and Spanish, by the middle of first grade, children are able to read real words and pseudo-words in the language accurately almost 100 percent of the time.* In languages in which the relationships are somewhat more complex, such as Danish and French, children are about 70 percent accurate by that time point. In English, in which the relationship between letters and sounds is extremely complex, children are about 40 percent accurate at that point.2 Put another way, English word reading requires a lot more effort to teach and learn than many other languages.


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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.

Consonant digraphs are those spellings wherein two letters are used to represent a single consonant phoneme. The most common consonant digraphs are ch for /tʃ/, ng for /ŋ/, ph for /f/, sh for /ʃ/, th for /θ/ and /ð/. Letter combinations like wr for /r/ and kn for /n/ are technically also consonant digraphs, although they are so rare that they are sometimes considered patterns with "silent letters".
For lots of children, their second year is the time when they really put all the phonics they know into practice, and learn to read longer and slightly more complex stories and non-fiction books. The focus in year 2 is not so much on using phonics for reading, as by now many children know most of the phonics they need. There’s more of a shift to using phonics for spelling, so that children use the phonics they know to help them work out how to spell a wider range of words.

Phonics instruction helps kids learn the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. Children are taught, for example, that the letter b represents the sound /b/, and that it is the first letter in words such as bubbles, ball, and baby. These Phonics Apps for Kids help kids practice with basic phonics skills, including recognizing the letters of the alphabet, alphabet matching, and word building.
Knowing that all phonics programs are not the same brings with it the implication that teachers must themselves be educated about how to evaluate different programs to determine which ones are based on strong evidence and how they can most effectively use these programs in their own classrooms. It is therefore important that teachers be provided with evidence-based preservice training and ongoing inservice training to select (or develop) and implement the most appropriate phonics instruction effectively.

Although conventional wisdom has suggested that kindergarten students might not be ready for phonics instruction, this assumption was not supported by the data. The effects of systematic early phonics instruction were significant and substantial in kindergarten and the 1st grade, indicating that systematic phonics programs should be implemented at those age and grade levels.
The correspondence between letters and sounds presents itself in several different ways. While letters remain the same, sound comes in different units: syllables, onsets and rimes and phonemes. Each syllable is made up of an onset, a rime or a combination of both. An onset is any consonants presented before a vowel in a syllable. For example, in the word “star”/st/ is the onset. Conversely a rime is any vowel and consonant(s) following an onset. In “star”/ar/ is the rime. Phonemes are the small units of sound that make up a word. While “star” consists of only one syllable, it contains four different phonemes: /s/ /t/ /a/ /r/.
^ Turner, Camilla (4 December 2017). "Reading standards in England are best in a generation, new international test results show". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 December 2017. The international study of nine to ten year-olds’ reading ability in 50 countries showed that England has risen to joint 8th place in 2016, thanks to a statistically significant rise in our average score 									

Consonant digraphs are those spellings wherein two letters are used to represent a single consonant phoneme. The most common consonant digraphs are ch for /tʃ/, ng for /ŋ/, ph for /f/, sh for /ʃ/, th for /θ/ and /ð/. Letter combinations like wr for /r/ and kn for /n/ are technically also consonant digraphs, although they are so rare that they are sometimes considered patterns with "silent letters".
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