Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project that offers a wealth of research-based reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Our reading resources assist parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.
In November 2010, a government white paper contained plans to train all primary school teachers in phonics. In 2018, The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), as part of its curriculum research has produced a YouTube video on Early Reading. It states "It is absolutely essential that every child master the phonic code as quickly as possible ... So, successful schools firstly teach phonics first, fast and furious." 
Most poor readers tend to rely so heavily on one reading strategy, such as the use of context and picture clues, that they exclude other strategies that might be more appropriate. To become skilled, fluent readers, children need to have a repertoire of strategies to draw on. These strategies include using a knowledge of sound-spelling relationships — in other words, an understanding of phonics. In addition, research has shown that skilled readers attend to almost every word in a sentence and process the letters that compose each of these words.
Scope and sequence is also important because it helps children to organize information into cognitive categories, or “file folders,” that support better cognitive storage and retrieval of information. For example, if one teaches information without a scope and sequence, one might move from teaching the short a sound in a consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) pattern (e.g., bag), to teaching the vowel digraph oa (e.g., boat), to teaching ch (e.g., chip), to teaching i_e (e.g., bike). It would be a lot easier to remember these patterns if they were taught in groups: for example, teaching all the short vowel sounds (a, e, i, o, and u), consonant digraphs that represent unique sounds (th, sh, ch), all the CVC-e (silent e) patterns (mate, Pete, bike, note, cute), and then both of the spelling patterns that represent the /oi/ sound (called a diphthong; oy and oi). If instruction follows a scope and sequence, the variations don’t seem random but rather work to form a category (e.g., “Oh this th is kind of like the ch, two letters that make a new consonant sound”).
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.
In 1984, the National Academy of Education commissioned a report on the status of research and instructional practices in reading education, Becoming a Nation of Readers. Among other results, the report includes the finding that phonics instruction improves children's ability to identify words. It reports that useful phonics strategies include teaching children the sounds of letters in isolation and in words, and teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of words. It also states that phonics instruction should occur in conjunction with opportunities to identify words in meaningful sentences and stories.
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.
Here, you will find free phonics worksheets to assist in learning phonics rules for reading. These free worksheets are printable and designed to accommodate any lesson plan for reading that includes phonics. Conveniently organized by the skills covered, these worksheets come with answer keys. You may print the worksheets from either PDF or JPEG versions and provide them to your children or students.
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.
However, we suggest that the answer also varies by child and should be informed by simple diagnostic assessments. Some children are able to develop letter-sound knowledge more quickly and efficiently than others. This is one reason why differentiated phonics instruction is so well advised. Some instruction is provided to the whole class, but then it is reinforced and gaps are filled in as needed in a small-group context. Research has shown that reading achievement is supported when instruction is differentiated.3 A number of researchers have developed systems by which assessments determine which letter-sound relationships each child has learned and not yet learned, and a systematic series of lessons are provided accordingly.4 An important direction for our field is to work toward determining the most time-efficient approaches to ensuring each child in a class meets grade-level expectations in word reading each year.
The result is that English spelling patterns vary considerably in the degree to which they follow rules. For example, the letters ee almost always represent /iː/, but the sound can also be represented by the letters i and y. Similarly, the letter cluster ough represents /ʌf/ as in enough, /oʊ/ as in though, /uː/ as in through, /ɒf/ as in cough, /aʊ/ as in bough, /ɔː/ as in bought, and /ʌp/ as in hiccough, while in slough and lough, the pronunciation varies.