English has absorbed many words from other languages throughout its history, usually without changing the spelling of those words. As a result, the written form of English includes the spelling patterns of many languages (Old English, Old Norse, Norman French, Classical Latin and Greek, as well as numerous modern languages) superimposed upon one another.[7] These overlapping spelling patterns mean that in many cases the same sound can be spelled differently and the same spelling can represent different sounds. However, the spelling patterns usually follow certain conventions.[8] In addition, the Great Vowel Shift, a historical linguistic process in which the quality of many vowels in English changed while the spelling remained as it was, greatly diminished the transparency of English spelling in relation to pronunciation.

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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.
This table depicts several different types of phonics instructional approaches that vary according to the unit of analysis or how letter-sound combinations are represented to the student. For example, in synthetic phonics approaches, students are taught to link an individual letter or letter combination with its appropriate sound and then blend the sounds to form words. In analytic phonics, students are first taught whole word units followed by systematic instruction linking the specific letters in the word with their respective sounds.

Students must also become familiar with digraphs, blends and diphthongs.  Digraphs are two-letter combinations that represent a single phoneme.  Blends are common consonant patterns of two and sometimes three letters that preserve the typical letter-sound relationships. Diphthongs are vowel combinations that when pronounced, produce a continuous vocal output in which the mouth, lips, and/or tongue position change midway through the pronunciation.

Alongside this process of learning to decode (read) words, children will need to continue to practise forming letters which then needs to move onto encoding. Encoding is the process of writing down a spoken word, otherwise known as spelling. They should start to be able to produce their own short pieces of writing, spelling the simple words correctly.
R-controlled syllables include those wherein a vowel followed by an r has a different sound from its regular pattern. For example, a word like car should have the pattern of a "closed syllable" because it has one vowel and ends in a consonant. However, the a in car does not have its regular "short" sound (/æ/ as in cat) because it is controlled by the r. The r changes the sound of the vowel that precedes it. Other examples include: park, horn, her, bird, and burn.
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.
The NRP analysis indicated that systematic phonics instruction is ready for implementation in the classroom. Findings of the Panel regarding the effectiveness of explicit, systematic phonics instruction were derived from studies conducted in many classrooms with typical classroom teachers and typical American or English-speaking students from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic levels.
R-controlled syllables include those wherein a vowel followed by an r has a different sound from its regular pattern. For example, a word like car should have the pattern of a "closed syllable" because it has one vowel and ends in a consonant. However, the a in car does not have its regular "short" sound (/æ/ as in cat) because it is controlled by the r. The r changes the sound of the vowel that precedes it. Other examples include: park, horn, her, bird, and burn.

To understand the big picture, children must understand other concepts of print as well. Concepts of print are the many understandings about how print works, including that print serves specific purposes (e.g., to help us remember or to entertain us); that print is language written down; and that, in English, we read from left to right and from the top of the page to the bottom. All of these and other “mechanics” about how print works are important to learn alongside letters and sounds.
In the articles below, you will get answers to these questions and more. You will learn the facts about phonics, why learning phonics is important for your child, how to tell if your child’s teacher includes phonics in his beginning reading program and what the most recent research on phonics says. You can also test your own phonics knowledge with our phonics quiz and explore further resources on phonics.
The goal of phonics instruction is to help readers quickly determine the sounds in unfamiliar written words. When readers encounter new words in texts they use the elements of phonics to decode and understand them. There are a number of ways in which phonics can be applied to reading. Synthetic phonics builds words from the ground up. In this approach readers connect letters to their corresponding phonemes (sound units) and then to blend those together to create a word. For example, if a reader encountered the word “apple” and did not recognize it, he would sound out each segment of the word (/a/ /p/ /l/) and then blend these sounds together to say the entire word. Analytic phonics, on the other hand, approaches words from the top down. A word is identified as a whole unit and then its letter-sound connections are parsed out. This approach is especially helpful when a reader comes to words that cannot be sounded out (such as “caught” and “light”) and reinforcement of sight words. Analogy phonics uses familiar parts of words to discover new words. When applying analogy phonics to the word “stun” a reader notices that the second half of the word is the same as other familiar words (“sun” and “fun”). She can then apply her knowledge of this phoneme to easily decode the word.
Phonics is the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. Children's reading development is dependent on their understanding of the alphabetic principle — the idea that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language. Learning that there are predictable relationships between sounds and letters allows children to apply these relationships to both familiar and unfamiliar words, and to begin to read with fluency.
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.
While most teachers and educational decision-makers recognize this, there may be a tendency in some classrooms, particularly in 1st grade, to allow phonics to become the dominant component, not only in the time devoted to it, but also in the significance attached. It is important not to judge children's reading competence solely on the basis of their phonics skills and not to devalue their interest in books because they cannot decode with complete accuracy. It is also critical for teachers to understand that systematic phonics instruction can be provided in an entertaining, vibrant, and creative manner.
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. 			

R-controlled syllables include those wherein a vowel followed by an r has a different sound from its regular pattern. For example, a word like car should have the pattern of a "closed syllable" because it has one vowel and ends in a consonant. However, the a in car does not have its regular "short" sound (/æ/ as in cat) because it is controlled by the r. The r changes the sound of the vowel that precedes it. Other examples include: park, horn, her, bird, and burn.
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ABCmouse.com’s phonics curriculum helps teach children the relationship between each letter of the alphabet and their sounds in a fun and interactive environment. With thousands of engaging learning activities, including games, books, songs, and more, and an award-winning preschool–kindergarten curriculum, your child will learn to love to read at ABCmouse.com.
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