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.
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.
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.
In 1997, Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. The National Reading Panel examined quantitative research studies on many areas of reading instruction, including phonics and whole language. The resulting report Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implications for Reading Instruction was published in 2000 and provides a comprehensive review of what is known about best practices in reading instruction in the U.S.[23][24] The panel reported that several reading skills are critical to becoming good readers: phonemic awareness, phonics for word identification, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension. With regard to phonics, their meta-analysis of hundreds of studies confirmed the findings of the National Research Council: teaching phonics (and related phonics skills, such as phonemic awareness) is a more effective way to teach children early reading skills than is embedded phonics or no phonics instruction.[25] The panel found that phonics instruction is an effective method of teaching reading for students from kindergarten through 6th grade, and for all children who are having difficulty learning to read. They also found that phonics instruction benefits all ages in learning to spell. They also reported that teachers need more education about effective reading instruction, both pre-service and in-service.
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.
Time4Learning’s reading program includes phonetic-based lessons, helping children to acquire blending skills, to deconstruct sounds, and to approach the pronunciation of unfamiliar words. In addition as a literature-based feature, children are provided vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension and writing components. The strategic combination is a successful tool in giving children the opportunity to explore and identify all facets of reading.
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.
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).
In 1997, Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. The National Reading Panel examined quantitative research studies on many areas of reading instruction, including phonics and whole language. The resulting report Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implications for Reading Instruction was published in 2000 and provides a comprehensive review of what is known about best practices in reading instruction in the U.S.[23][24] The panel reported that several reading skills are critical to becoming good readers: phonemic awareness, phonics for word identification, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension. With regard to phonics, their meta-analysis of hundreds of studies confirmed the findings of the National Research Council: teaching phonics (and related phonics skills, such as phonemic awareness) is a more effective way to teach children early reading skills than is embedded phonics or no phonics instruction.[25] The panel found that phonics instruction is an effective method of teaching reading for students from kindergarten through 6th grade, and for all children who are having difficulty learning to read. They also found that phonics instruction benefits all ages in learning to spell. They also reported that teachers need more education about effective reading instruction, both pre-service and in-service.
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.
The easiest words are those that are spelled the same way as they sound. A phoneme is a sound, a grapheme is the written representation of that sound, the word "sound" has four phonemes: /s/ /ou/ /n/ and /d/. Words like bed, dark, sun and computer, have all their phonemes correspond with their graphemes and are therefore considered easier. Words like "bear" compared to "bare", or "reign" "rain" and "crane" are more difficult, as the same phoneme is represented by a different grapheme.

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]
As you may have noticed phonics and phonemic awareness (the understanding that words are comprised of small segments of sound) are intimately connected. Phonics relies heavily on a reader’s phonemic awareness. The reader must not only understand that words are made up of phonemes (small units of sound), he must also know a number of phonemes. Since a reader’s primary phonemic awareness develops through speaking and listening, most children come to reading with many phonemes stored in their knowledge banks. Phonics instruction connects these phonemes with written letters so that they can transfer their knowledge of sounds to the printed word. This is why phonics instruction is an important component of early reading education.
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!
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In order to have a true understanding of the purpose and function of letters and letter sounds, children must understand how words are represented in print, or concept of word.5 This means they know that words are collections of letters that represent a series of speech sounds that collectively represent a unit of meaning. They need to understand that each new word is signified by a space that does not contain any letters. They need to understand that you can see a word as well as say a word.
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 company built a successful business based upon significant advertising, leading to sales of over $100M per year. The product, along with its catchphrase "Hooked on Phonics worked for me!" (spoken by children in the product's television ads) and its telephone number "1-800-ABCDEFG" (now belonging to the Wilshire Law Firm), became widely recognized during the mid-1990s.[3]
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:
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 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.

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:
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.
I am using this product as a reading guide for my 2and 4 year Olds. My 4 year old absolutely loves it. I adjust our focus based on the knowledge that she already has. As a mom it makes me feel confident that I can teach her how to read. Prior to getting this I didn't know where to start. She already knew her abcs and letter sounds but we are doing the whole course anyway. I am mixing some more challenging lessons in so that she keeps her focus and then we go back to the 'easy stuff' to help her feel successful if she gets frustrated. I will start my 2 year old in a simplified version of the first lesson group in the fall. This product comes highly recommended.
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