Nancy has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and has taught elementary and homeschool students.
What is Phonics?
Say you are visiting an early childhood classroom. You will notice straight away an atmosphere that promotes a love of reading. There are books, books, and more books! There are also word walls, labels for objects, and a classroom rug for children for a read aloud time. While most of these tools for reading are necessary, the actual process of learning to read involves a very systematic and explicit type of instruction called phonics instruction.
Phonics is reading instruction that is focused on letter-sound relationships and how these are used in spelling and reading. One of the most important aspects of reading instruction is the idea that letters can make different sounds depending on their placement and patterns can be learned to build fluency. This type of reading instruction is both systematic and explicit. The letter-sound relationship is taught in an organized, logical sequence. The material is taught with precise directions by the teacher for teaching letter-sound relationships.
The effect of phonics reinforces children's word recognition, spelling, and comprehension. It should be a part of every grade level but is especially critical during the pre-k through first grade levels.
The Science of Teaching Reading
The Science of Teaching Reading (STR) (aka 'the science of reading') is the data from research of how children learn how to read. Phonics is one of the 'big five' components for effective evidence-based reading instruction. The five components are
- systematic phonemic awareness
- reading comprehension
Studies show that reading performance is improved through the use of an organized and more systematic approach to phonics instruction. Many states understand the need for phonics-based programs to teach students as well as professional development courses to help train teachers. Seek out opportunities to incorporate this type of instruction into early childhood classrooms.
Phonics Implementation Strategies
So, how can you make learning phonics engaging and fun? One strategy is to provide hands-on experience or tactile practice. Teachers can use a variety of teaching resources like word building mats with word cards and letter tiles to help build on earlier instruction in letter-sound correspondence.
Materials can vary depending on the activity, including clay to see-through magnet tiles, to dry erase picture flip boards. Teachers can have students select a word card and read the word to the child while they sound out each letter. In this way, they can model the sound-letter relationship. Then the teacher can build other words using the same ending sounds to create word families. This will help students practice CVC words through building and sounding out sounds.
There are many programs that each state school district provides for teachers, usually accompanied with training courses for teachers. Programs like Sounds-Write, Jolly Phonics, Alpha to Omega, Fresh Start, Words Their Way, and Read, Write Inc. focus on modules and activities that teach and reinforce phonics knowledge. They usually include application of phonics instruction in a multi-sensory approach.
With the importance of raising reading scores and improving reading comprehension for Early Childhood reading programs, phonics instruction is seen as a key component to success for students. The structured programs available and the continued assessments to help teachers monitor progress are all part of the science of reading applied in the classroom.
Phonics is a systematic and explicit reading instruction aimed at helping children learn the alphabetic principle. Phonics is focused on the letter-sound correspondence and how these skills are used in reading and spelling. The programs that are based on the Science of Teaching Reading (STR), which is data showing that instruction should be explicit and systematic and includes phonics instruction as one of the 'big five' components for effective reading instruction.
Programs like Sounds-Write, Jolly Phonics, and Words Their Way, to name a few, are usually offered in conjunction with school districts or online-training for teachers to implement in the classroom. Providing a firm foundation in early reading skills will influence later reading and comprehension as children develop.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack