Schwa is the third sound that most of the single vowel spellings can represent. It is the indistinct sound of many a vowel in an unstressed syllable, and is represented by the linguistic symbol /ə/; it is the sound of the o in lesson, of the a in sofa. Although it is the most common vowel sound in spoken English, schwa is not always taught to elementary school students because some find it difficult to understand. However, some educators make the argument that schwa should be included in primary reading programmes because of its vital importance in the correct pronunciation of English words.

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A cheery educational app with games in phonics, letter recognition, rhymes, tracing, and wordplay. Monkey Word School Adventure uses six different mini activities to help them with reading skills through phonics and word groups. Each activity adjusts to your child’s ability level. Many of the activities also allow kids to self-correct to solve the given problems. Each activity is short and moves automatically to the next challenge.

We often observe phonics instruction that has some strengths but also some gaps. Effective phonics instruction is multifaceted. You’ve likely already heard about the need for explicit instruction. Explicit instruction is direct, precise, and unambiguous (e.g., telling children what sound the letters sh represent together, rather than making the connection indirectly or asking them to figure it out themselves). You probably also realize the need to apply general learning principles (e.g., specific feedback). Some other facets that must be present are:
This principle was first presented by John Hart in 1570[1]. Prior to that children learned to read through the ABC method, by which they recited the letters used in each word, from a familiar piece of text such as Genesis. It was John Hart who first suggested that the focus should be on the relationship between what are now referred to as graphemes and phonemes.
Hooked on Phonics includes 12 steps; each teaches rimes and letter sounds to help kids build words. Within each step, videos with catchy songs introduce letter sounds and sight words, and games help kids build words using onsets and rimes. Kids practice reading immediately, starting with step one, using the three ebooks that correspond with each step. Lessons include all letter sounds, plus the rimes -at, -an, -ap, -ad, -am, -ag,  -ig, -id, -ig -ip, -im, -in, -ix, ill, -ot, -op, -ox, -ob, -og, -ug, -un, -ut, -ub, -up, -ed, -en, -et, -eg, and -ell. Adding s to words, the blend -ck, and reviews are also built in. Up to 25 kids can have usernames on each device, with their progress tracked step-by-step. If necessary, teachers can unlock all content at once rather than have kids progress through it sequentially. Rewards and extension sections are accessible by clicking the trophy at the bottom of the screen. Kids earn points by completing lessons and can buy items to embellish their trophies using those points. They can also practice writing sentences or stories using the words covered in the app.
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]
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.
A good phonics lesson begins with an explicit explanation of the sound-spelling being taught along with guided opportunities for students to blend, or sound out, words using the new sound-spelling. These exercises should be followed by guided and independent reading practice in text that contains words with the new sound-spelling. This portion of phonics instruction is key. Therefore, phonics instruction should focus on applying learned sound-spelling relationships to actual reading, with smaller amounts of time spent on the initial task of learning phonics rules. That way, you can plan phonics lessons that are appropriate for all students, even if some have higher levels of phonics mastery than others.

Also, I love that the experience of opening up the kit and progressing is fun for him. He calls it “my reading” and looks forward to pulling out the red box in the evenings after bath. He's working hard for the stickers and has only once swiped a few before they were earned. We are using this kit in a completely low-pressure environment, to get ahead – but I can imagine the ease of use and short, bite sized lessons would be great for a child who is catching up, as well – to build confidence.

Kiz Phonics Learning to Read Program for Children - Course Plan. This page is a layout of the structure of our phonics program. This is a general guide on how to progressively teach your child to learn to read. However, mindful of the fact that every child is different, you can always adapt the program according to your child's unique needs. You will find links to Phonics Worksheets, Phonics Videos, Phonics Games Online & Listening Materials, which have all been designed to help your child learn to read. It is suitable for school teachers and home-school parents. If you are simply looking for extra resources, then use the search tool above to help you quickly find your way around.


In Year 1, they will start to explore vowel digraphs and trigraphs (a group of three letters that makes a single sound, like 'igh' as in 'sigh') further. They will begin to understand, for example, that the letters ea can make different sounds in different words (dream and bread). They will also learn that one sound might be represented by different groups of letters: for example, light and pie (igh and ie make the same sound).
Time4Learning is a non-contract binding program featuring content and curriculum from multiple subject areas. Time4Learning is offered at a surprisingly low cost. Parents find that Time4Learning’s cost for six months is less than the monthly cost of most tutoring centers. As an added bonus, Time4Learning also includes a two-week money-back guarantee. Learn More
At the very core of phonics lies the alphabet. In order to master phonics a person must master the alphabet. Letters then need to be connected to their corresponding sounds. As we know as English speakers, this is easier said than done. Many letters can represent a number of different sounds. Thus learning phonics is an ongoing process for a developing reader.

To be honest, I’ve always worked on letter recognition first with my kids. However, I have been told (repeatedly) from teachers that they should be learning letter phonics first. I find this very hard to do if the child doesn’t know the letter, so I’m learning to pair these goals together. Plus, phonics activities are hard to come by (and hard to come up with)!


Children who have already developed phonics skills and can apply them appropriately in the reading process do not require the same level and intensity of phonics instruction provided to children at the initial phases of reading acquisition. Thus, it will also be critical to determine objectively the ways in which systematic phonics instruction can be optimally incorporated and integrated in complete and balanced programs of reading instruction. Part of this effort should be directed at preservice and inservice education to provide teachers with decision-making frameworks to guide their selection, integration, and implementation of phonics instruction within a complete reading program.
To understand the big picture, children must understand the alphabetic principle—how our English system of writing works. The alphabetic principle is simply that visual symbols (letters) represent speech sounds (phonemes). To write the spoken word “dog,” you use alphabetic symbols to represent the speech sounds. We can combine and recombine letter symbols to form words. As odd as it may sound, children can learn letters and even letter sounds in very rote ways without understanding the alphabetic system. When children do not understand the alphabetic principle, they may do the following:
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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 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).

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.
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.

By the end of kindergarten, students should know the letters and their corresponding sounds. Your homeschool phonics program should use reading activities that will help your student identify words that begin with the same sounds and reinforce letter recognition. Use reading activities that show your child the difference between upper and lowercase letters.


As children become readers, they need to understand and use the relationship between letters and sounds to read words.[1] Phonics requires knowledge of letter recognition, sound recognition, and their associations. This means that children must recognize letters in words, and then produce their corresponding sounds to read words. Fortunately, there are fun activities that you can do with your child to promote phonics!
Time4Learning is a comprehensive program with many uses. Aside from a language arts program, Time4Learning provides components in the areas of math, social studies, science, writing, and foreign language. While many other programs only highlight reading and math, we feel that to best assist children, we must provide them with multiple subject content.
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]
Phonics for Reading is a research validated program that focuses on decoding, encoding (writing), fluency, and comprehension skills usually mastered in grades K to 3. The program uses explicit, teacher-directed instruction to introduce skills and strategies. Participants will learn the science behind the program as well as how to implement the program.
As children become readers, they need to understand and use the relationship between letters and sounds to read words.[1] Phonics requires knowledge of letter recognition, sound recognition, and their associations. This means that children must recognize letters in words, and then produce their corresponding sounds to read words. Fortunately, there are fun activities that you can do with your child to promote phonics!
The whole language emphasis on identifying words using context and focusing only a little on the sounds (usually the alphabet consonants and the short vowels) could not be reconciled with the phonics emphasis on individual sound-symbol correspondences. Thus, a dichotomy between the whole language approach and phonics emerged in the United States causing intense debate. Ultimately, this debate led to a series of Congressionally-commissioned panels and government-funded reviews of the state of reading instruction in the U.S.
Time4Learning offers engaging curriculum which covers math, language arts, science, and social studies. The language arts program has a strong phonics program along with listening comprehension, pre-phonics skills building such as phonemic/phonological awareness, vocabulary, self expression, writing, reading comprehension, and grammar. Time4Learning also includes social studies, science, and the option to add on a foreign language.

This principle was first presented by John Hart in 1570[1]. Prior to that children learned to read through the ABC method, by which they recited the letters used in each word, from a familiar piece of text such as Genesis. It was John Hart who first suggested that the focus should be on the relationship between what are now referred to as graphemes and phonemes.
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.
Children are then introduced to vowel digraphs. A digraph is two vowels that together make one sound such as: /oa/, /oo/, /ee/, /ai/. They will move onto sounding out words such as deer, hair, boat, etc. and will be taught about split digraphs (or 'magic e'). They will also start to read words combining vowel digraphs with consonant clusters, such as: train, groan and stool.
Some educators feel there are words that do not follow these phonics rules, such as were, who, and you.[12] They are often called "sight words" because they are memorized by sight with the whole language approach. These words should not be placed on a Word Wall to avoid confusion for a student learning beginning sounds. However, teachers of Synthetic phonics believe that most words are decodable and do not need to be memorized. For example, they point out that the word "were" is decodable because it contains two sounds, /w/-/er/. It is only necessary for the student to learn the various ways of spelling the sounds.[13]
Hooked on Phonics Reading Power 1992 is a great resource for children learning to read and comprehend what they are reading. The set is complete except for one cassette is missing. See pictures. Some of the first 23 pages of the student record book have been written in pencil but can be erased. The box and its contents are in excellent used condition. Great teaching tool.

Phonics instruction may be provided systematically or incidentally. The hallmark of a systematic phonics approach or program is that a sequential set of phonics elements is delineated and these elements are taught along a dimension of explicitness depending on the type of phonics method employed. Conversely, with incidental phonics instruction, the teacher does not follow a planned sequence of phonics elements to guide instruction but highlights particular elements opportunistically when they appear in text.
From the alphabet song to children’s toys, much of the messaging that young children receive about letters is focused on the names of letters. Although research does suggest the importance of teaching and learning letter names, also vitally important is teaching the sounds associated with the letters. A common faux pas is neglecting instruction in those sounds throughout prekindergarten and sometimes well into kindergarten.

^ 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


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.
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