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.
As a licenced teacher and later as a principal, I have successfully educated more than 300 students ranging in age from 5 to 20 at a private school I founded and operated for 9 years. All my students were failing in either public or private schools when they came to me. The one main thing that all my students had in common regardless of the medical designation they had was that their reading comprehension skills were extremely weak. This is a common occurance for a full one third of the population. Hence my brand name...One Third.
Children have problem in reading because they are not able to recognize the sounds of the letters of the alphabet in the words they read. Phonics reading will help children to recognize and associate sounds of the letters of the alphabet in the word they read. This will help them to improve in their reading skills and efficiency. In other words, it will be difficult for a child to improve in his reading skills if the teaching of phonics is removed from their curriculum.
Copyright © 2014–2019 UNDERSTOOD.ORG USA LLC. All rights reserved. “Understood” and related logos are trademarks of UNDERSTOOD.ORG USA LLC and are used with permission. This website provides information of a general nature and is designed for information and educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. Understood is a nonprofit initiative. Understood does not and will not take money from pharmaceutical companies. We do not market to or offer services to individuals in the European Union. For more information, please review the Terms and Conditions. 									

The step-by-step approach, with reviews built in via songs and ebooks, is very effective for teaching reading. Teachers will appreciate the mix of phonics and sight words, and kids will enjoy the variety of delivery -- songs, games, and books -- and the predictability of how each step advances. Though $8.99 per month (or $49.99 for a lifetime subscription) might seem expensive, teachers get a step-by-step curriculum for an entire class of students, which can be reset every year and reused for a new class of students. Differentiation is easy as well, as teachers can unlock all content for students who can already read, allowing them to review at their own pace. Kids can also practice writing using the words in the writing section.
In addition, it is not clear how many months or years a phonics program should continue. If phonics has been systematically taught in kindergarten and 1st grade, should it continue to be emphasized in 2nd grade and beyond? How long should single instruction sessions last? How much ground should be covered in a program? Specifically, how many letter-sound relations should be taught, and how many different ways of using these relations to read and write words should be practiced for the benefits of phonics to be maximized? These questions remain for future research.
is a free tutorial that uses cartoons and sounds with audio narration and clickable words to teach phonics. This method teaches just basic phonics concepts without struggle or frustration and includes rules for vowels, consonants, and blends along with practice pages. These pages were created to make it easy and fun for new readers -- children or adults -- to navigate through the lessons. So we invite students, along with parents and school teachers, to click and hear words while enjoying the pictures.
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.
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.
Then, usually in reception or primary 1, the letters of the alphabet are introduced in a set order, and children learn one sound for each letter. At that point, they can sound out and read simple, short words like ‘c-a-t, cat’ and ‘s-u-n, sun’. Next, children learn that some letters make different sounds when you put them together, like ‘sh’, ‘ee’ and ‘ai’.

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.
Phonics instruction can also vary with respect to the explicitness by which the phonic elements are taught and practiced in the reading of text. For example, many synthetic phonics approaches use direct instruction in teaching phonics components and provide opportunities for applying these skills in decodable text formats characterized by a controlled vocabulary. On the other hand, embedded phonics approaches are typically less explicit and use decodable text for practice less frequently, although the phonics concepts to be learned can still be presented systematically.
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.
Short vowels are the five single letter vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, when they produce the sounds /æ/ as in cat, /ɛ/ as in bet, /ɪ/ as in sit, /ɒ/ or /ɑ/ as in hot, and /ʌ/ as in cup. The term "short vowel" is historical, and meant that at one time (in Middle English) these vowels were pronounced for a particularly short period of time; currently, it means just that they are not diphthongs like the long vowels. 									

Your child will probably learn phonics in kindergarten through second grade. In kindergarten, children usually learn the sounds of the consonant letters (all letters except the vowels a, e, i, o, and u). First- and second-graders typically learn all the sounds of letters, letter combinations, and word parts (such as “ing” and “ed”). They practice reading and spelling words containing those letters and patterns. Second-graders typically review and practice the phonics skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic.
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 point of fact, letter-sound information amalgamates the word’s units into memory better than any other process. When we teach high-frequency words, we need to fully analyze the letter-sound relationships within them, whether the word is comprised of expected letter-sound relationships, as in can (/k/, /a/, and /n/, just as we would expect); some expected and some unexpected letter-sound relationships, as in said (/s/ and /d/ are as expected, /ai/ would normally represent the long a, not the short e, sound); or entirely unexpected letter-sound relationships, such as of (/uv/). Nearly two-thirds of high-frequency words are actually very regular (e.g., at, in, it), but even with those that are not, we need to fully analyze the letter-sound relationships as well as read them accurately many times. We suggest studying each letter’s association with each sound, relating the word to other words with the same letter-sound patterns when possible (e.g., no, go, so), and teaching high-frequency words alongside meaningful words (e.g., like with bike).

In 1990, Congress asked the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to compile a list of available programs on beginning reading instruction, evaluating each in terms of the effectiveness of its phonics component. As part of this requirement, the ED asked Dr. Marilyn J. Adams to produce a report on the role of phonics instruction in beginning reading, which resulted in her 1994 book Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.[15] In the book, Adams asserted that existing scientific research supported that phonics is an effective method for teaching students to read at the word level. Adams argued strongly that the phonics and the whole language advocates are both right, and that phonics is an effective way to teach students the alphabetic code, building their skills in decoding unknown words. By learning the alphabetic code early, she argued, students can quickly free up mental energy they had used for word analysis and devote this mental effort to meaning, leading to stronger comprehension earlier in elementary school. Thus, she concluded, phonics instruction is a necessary component of reading instruction, but not sufficient by itself to teach children to read. This result matched the overall goal of whole language instruction and supported the use of phonics for a particular subset of reading skills, especially in the earliest stages of reading instruction. Yet the argument about how to teach reading, eventually known as "the Great Debate," continued unabated.


"Overall we conclude that the synthetic phonics approach, as part of the reading curriculum, is more effective than the analytic phonics approach, even when it is supplemented with phonemic awareness training. It also led boys to reading words significantly better than girls, and there was a trend towards better spelling and reading comprehension. There is evidence that synthetic phonics is best taught at the beginning of Primary 1, as even by the end of the second year at school the children in the early synthetic phonics programme had better spelling ability, and the girls had significantly better reading ability."
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”).
Montessori Letter Sounds works off of four stages for kids: I-Spy Games, Letter Sounds, Mix-n-Match, and Sound it Out. In each step, children will find a learning activity and a game to help them put their learning into practice. Self-correction is encouraged throughout the app to increase self-confidence. The system keeps track of marbles won by each player. Marbles are used to unlock games and levels and to stimulate learning.

There has been a resurgence in interest in synthetic phonics in recent years, particularly in the United Kingdom. The subject has been promoted by a cross-party group of Parliamentarians, particularly Nick Gibb MP. A recent report by the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee called for a review of the phonics content in the National Curriculum. The Department for Education and Skills since announced a review into early years reading, headed by Sir Jim Rose, formerly Her Majesty's Inspector and Director of Inspection for Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, UK.)
Vowel digraphs are those spelling patterns wherein two letters are used to represent a vowel sound. The ai in sail is a vowel digraph. Because the first letter in a vowel digraph sometimes says its long vowel sound, as in sail, some phonics programmes once taught that "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking." This convention has been almost universally discarded, owing to the many non-examples. The au spelling of the /ɔː/ sound and the oo spelling of the /uː/ and /ʊ/ sounds do not follow this pattern.
Simplistic, broad generalizations or “rules” do not work. For example, if we say that silent e signals a long vowel sound all the time, then we have a lot of issues. But if the generalization is made more specific, it is more applicable. For example, the silent e pattern is consistent more than 75 percent of the time in a_e, i_e, o_e, and u_e, but only consistent 16 percent of the time with e_e.

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.
Imagine going to work for a shipbuilding company. You go to work the first day and are schooled in all the different types of bolts, screws, and nails. You learn their names, the different sizes, and the different types, but you never learn that their purpose is to join pieces of metal and that those pieces of metal are used to build ships! Although this situation is clearly ridiculous, it is actually analogous to what we see in some prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Children are being taught to name letters or even identify the sounds that the letters represent, but they are unclear about why they are learning it. Letter-sound knowledge is being learned in a vacuum; the child has no context for how to use the information, no “big picture.”
Phonemic awareness involves the understanding of the relationship between sounds and words. It explains how words are made of sounds that can be used, like reusable building blocks, to construct words (h + at = hat, f + at = fat, etc). Phonics goes one step further by connecting those sounds to written symbols. It involves learning how letters or letter groups represent unique sounds, and how those sounds are blended to form a word.
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!
Diphthongs are linguistic elements that fuse two adjacent vowel sounds. English has four common diphthongs. The commonly recognized diphthongs are /aʊ/ as in cow and /ɔɪ/ as in boil. Three of the long vowels are also in fact combinations of two vowel sounds, in other words diphthongs: /aɪ/ as in "I" or mine, /oʊ/ as in no, and /eɪ/ as in bay, which partly accounts for the reason they are considered "long".
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.

In systematic or explicit phonics, students are taught the rules and the exceptions, they are not instructed to memorize words. Memorizing sight words and high frequency words has not been found to help fluency. Put Reading First adds that "although some readers may recognize words automatically in isolation or on a list, they may not read the same words fluently when the words appear in sentences in connected text. Instant or automatic word recognition is a necessary, but not sufficient, reading skill. Students who can read words in isolation quickly may not be able to automatically transfer this "speed and accuracy".[11]
Children have to develop more confidence in themselves before they begin to vocalize more. This begins the moment they realize that they can pronounce words correctly like older people. It is only through phonics reading that children will develop the ability to pronounce words very well. So, if you want your child to develop confidence and become more vocal in the future, you need to teach him or her phonics.
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.
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.
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!
In the reading skills pyramid, a visual illustration of the process kids go through when learning to read, phonics follows closely behind phonemic awareness. Once children understand that letters have associated sounds, they begin to make relationships between those sounds and spelling. This is the skill that helps beginning readers decode — or sound out — new words. The key elements of reading are:
In systematic or explicit phonics, students are taught the rules and the exceptions, they are not instructed to memorize words. Memorizing sight words and high frequency words has not been found to help fluency. Put Reading First adds that "although some readers may recognize words automatically in isolation or on a list, they may not read the same words fluently when the words appear in sentences in connected text. Instant or automatic word recognition is a necessary, but not sufficient, reading skill. Students who can read words in isolation quickly may not be able to automatically transfer this "speed and accuracy".[11]
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.
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.
A final point about letter-name knowledge: it is often noted that letter-name knowledge in preschool and kindergarten is a strong predictor of children’s later literacy achievement. This is true, but it is not because letter-name knowledge is an even-close-to-sufficient contributor to actual reading or writing. It is helpful, but some children learn to read knowing only letter sounds—no letter names. The predictive power of letter names lies largely in the fact that it is a proxy for other things. Children who know letter names early are more likely to have experienced a substantial emphasis on print literacy in the home and to have attended a strong preschool, for example, which in turn increase the likelihood of higher later reading and writing achievement. Naming letters is only one facet of letter knowledge, and probably not even the most important one. It is the application of letter-sound knowledge that advances children’s reading and spelling.
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

Phonics curriculum usually starts with teaching letters, slowly creating a working knowledge of the alphabet. Children learn the sounds of each letter by associating it with the word that starts with that sound. Phonics skills grow through reading activities, and students learn to distinguish between vowels and consonants and understand letter combinations such as blends and digraphs.

There has been a resurgence in interest in synthetic phonics in recent years, particularly in the United Kingdom. The subject has been promoted by a cross-party group of Parliamentarians, particularly Nick Gibb MP. A recent report by the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee called for a review of the phonics content in the National Curriculum. The Department for Education and Skills since announced a review into early years reading, headed by Sir Jim Rose, formerly Her Majesty's Inspector and Director of Inspection for Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, UK.)
Children have problem in reading because they are not able to recognize the sounds of the letters of the alphabet in the words they read. Phonics reading will help children to recognize and associate sounds of the letters of the alphabet in the word they read. This will help them to improve in their reading skills and efficiency. In other words, it will be difficult for a child to improve in his reading skills if the teaching of phonics is removed from their curriculum. 

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[62]. 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[63]. The ministry convened a team led by a well-known specialist in reading, José Morais[64]. This team introduced an explicit phonics teaching approach, put emphasis on decoding and reading fluency.

In the first 60 lessons, all of Reading Eggs’ books are highly decodable, using words that have been introduced and reinforced by the lessons. The program responds to readers at their level of ability, making it possible for children to consistently read at their own individual level. This is extremely beneficial for their learning and overall confidence.
Copyright © 2014–2019 UNDERSTOOD.ORG USA LLC. All rights reserved. “Understood” and related logos are trademarks of UNDERSTOOD.ORG USA LLC and are used with permission. This website provides information of a general nature and is designed for information and educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. Understood is a nonprofit initiative. Understood does not and will not take money from pharmaceutical companies. We do not market to or offer services to individuals in the European Union. For more information, please review the Terms and Conditions.
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.
The spelling structures for some alphabetic languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese and specially Italian, are comparatively orthographically transparent, or orthographically shallow, because there is nearly a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and the letter patterns that represent them. English spelling is more complex, a deep orthography, partly because it attempts to represent the 40+ phonemes of the spoken language with an alphabet composed of only 26 letters (and no diacritics). As a result, two letters are often used together to represent distinct sounds, referred to as digraphs. For example, t and h placed side by side to represent either /θ/ or /ð/.
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.

The Phonics for Reading Series is carefully sequenced and gives direct instruction in phonics. Specifically designed to appeal to older students, this three-level program builds on learning. ?First Level focuses on short vowels, consonants, consonant blends, and digraphs ?Second Level progresses with vowel combinations, r-controlled vowel sounds, common endings, and CVCe words ?Third Level expands concepts with vowel/letter combinations, common prefixes and suffixes, minor consonant sounds for c and g, and minor vowel sound combinations Phonics for Reading also provides word-recognition and spelling instruction, story reading, and independent activities. Assessment opportunities include: ?Placement Tests-Use for placing students within the program or to measure growth at the end of the program or school year. ?Checking Up-Ten activities throughout each level offer teacher and students a formal measure of skills. ?Fluency Assessment-Teacher Guides for Second and Third Level provide directions for using story passages to assess fluency and activities for building fluency. Available: Student Books ?First Level-30 teacher-directed lessons ?Second Level-32 teacher-directed lessons ?Third Level-36 teacher-directed lessons
Practicing your phonics sounds for just 5 minutes a day is proven to be the best way to improve reading skills, whether in the car on the drive home from school, snuggled up on the sofa or sitting outside in the garden on a nice summers day! The positive reward system the game offers is very motivating and the different ways the app challenges a child to think about each letter; from recognising the grapheme to putting it into a word is impressive.
abc PocketPhonics app covers all the sounds and children have the opportunity to practise blending and segmenting to read and write words. It teaches students the sounds of different letters and basic words. This app uses the Phonics method (phoneme-centered approach), as taught in UK schools, to develop reading skills. It also closely matches the order in which schools will usually teach the different sounds, as defined in the National Curriculum. 
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