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Reading is more than just blending- sounding out words; it is a  process that  allows one to gain knowledge,  comprehend, analyze, synthesis, to apply knowledge, and visualize/imagine.                            It is a thinking process, drawing on background information to construct new meaning. It involves an interaction between what we already know and the author’s ideas. Phonics only gives an approximate pronunciation. It can be taught systematically and explicitly  without a commercial program.

Phonemic Awareness: awareness of sounds in spoken words
and  the ability to manipulate  those sounds.
Phonemic awareness is not synonymous with phonics.
Children who begin first grade high in phonemic awareness do well regardless of the kind of reading instruction they receive. It is unlikely that children lacking phonemic awareness can benefit fully from phonics instruction. Children without phonemic awareness may be able to memorize isolated letters-sound correspondences by rote, but they will not understand how to actually coordinate letter-sound relationships to read or  write new words.
A study by Juel, Griffith, & Gough, 1986)

The ability to segment phonemes is actually a more powerful predictor of early reading and spelling achievement than rhyme production or onset-rime segmentation. Nation & Hume (1997) Reading Research Quarterly, 32,  p154-167)

Kindergarteners talk about print: Phonemic awareness in meaningful contexts (instead of direct teaching.) Rdg. Teacher 5/1996 Richgels, Poremba, McGee  “the child’s level of phonemic awareness on entering school may be the single most powerful determinant o the success he/she will experience in learning to read.” “What Can You Show Us?” “Four elements:preparation, previewing, student demonstrations, and application. The first 3 occur before shared reading ; the 4th occurs during or after shared reading.” It gives the teachers an opportunity to facilitate children’s emerging phonemic awareness in a meaningful manner that preserves children’s initiative.
Phonemic Matching 
Through songs, chants, rhymes, stories that play with words, alliteration, and sound boxes, phonemic awareness is  developed. Through these activities children learn to manipulate phonemes which in turn supports decoding as well as encoding.
Stage 1: is to rhyme words and to recognize rhyme.
Stage 2.: Blending phonemes and syllable splitting -segmenting the beginning sound of a word from the rest of the word.
Stage 3:  Completely segmenting the phonemes in spoken words and manipulating phonemes to form different words. (Adams, Beginning to Read:Thinking and Learning about Print, 1990)
Phonemic awareness activities will not be helpful to a child unless they can be placed in a context of real reading and writing, 
Stage 1 Rhyming and recognizing rhyme
Sing songs that play with words. Read literature with a lot of rhyming words, such as alphabet books with a lot of repetition of the initial consonant. Many children’s books are written in rhyme. Read rhyming texts to children each day.
Fooba-Wooba John  by Burl Ives 

Clifford Sound Match
Stage  2 Blending phonemes and splitting the beginning sound from the remaining word  -including training in alliteration

Stage 3.Completely segmenting the phonemes in spoken words and manipulating phonemes to form  different words.  Match words and syllables to physical movements such as clapping, marching, and walking in place. The rhythmic activities help children focus on speech segments separately from meaning.

Jump Frog, Jump for J UTube

All Inclusive Sitesl
UTube Dance Your Way to Phonemic Awareness Part 3 Phyllis Ferguson
UTube Dance Your Way to Phonemic Awareness Part 4

UTube Dance Your Way to Phonemic Awareness Part 5- 
Activities to Directly Develop Phonemic Awareness Skills

Phonological Awareness Activity Box/Lakeshore Learning

That Fun Reading Teacher/ Sound Boxes
Phoneme Isolating
Tip: Take a half sheet of paper and draw one inch boxes around the edges. On one side  make two boxes, the next side draw three,  then four, and then five boxes. Laminated the sheets and have them ready to hand out with a small bag of tokens for each. Begin with pictures and then proceed with print on flash cards.
Level 1   Initially show only pictures of two or three phonemes and a continuous initial consonant sound, such as /s/, /f/or /m/, where the flow of breath is not constricted and the sound does not cease as you hold it.  Color code the words with green construction paper.
Level 2 words are more difficult to stretch and have three phonemes with an initial stop consonant, such as /d/, / k/, or /t/. 
These are harder to segment because of the quick puff of air needed to pronounce them. Color code words with a different color construction paper.
Level 3. The most difficult to segment begin or end with blends, e.g. /bl/, or /mp/.  “They are so closely connected; they are like close friends but they have their own name.”

As children become more proficient show pictures of four or five syllable- one at a time. In the beginning, the teacher pronounces words  that children have not learned to spell and have few phonemes, stretching the words out as it is being pronounce. Ask questions such as: What sounds can you hear? What letters might you see? Where will the letters go?  As children’s proficiency increases have them write the letter in lieu of moving a marker. Encourage the children to write the letters they know- check that they go in the correct box. 
As they hear a sound/phoneme they push/pull a token into the corresponding square. Digraphs make one sound so only one token is placed in one box to represent the digraph.
When acuity begins to develop show pictures and have the students pronounce the word - stretching it out as they do. If they do not have enough boxes they would have to turn the paper to display the correct number of boxes. The back side can have a line of  more 
boxes for a challenge.                                

    This is a good practice for any student who has a problem with auditory discrimination; it is helpful in developing spelling skills. Any one who has a problem with spelling need to stretch out their words to hear individual sounds in one syllable words and eventually multi-syllable words.  They first listen to how many vowels they hear and then listen to each individual syllable. Reverse the procedure when spelling- spell one syllable at a time.

Hearing and Recording Sound using Elkonian Boxes -You Tube Many other You Tube  presentation available along the side.

Phonics instruction should never dominate reading instruction. At least half  the  time devoted to reading should be spent reading connected text -stories, poems, plays, trade books etc.  N o more than 25% (and possibly less) of the time should be spent on phonics instruction.Teach only the rules that are frequently used. Children should read some text daily, preferably a complete story, with phonics instruction integrated into the text reading. 

Steven Stahl, The Reading Teacher april 1992
Phonics through Poetry
My Cat

My cat rubs my leg
and starts to purr
with a soft little rumble,
a soft little whirr,
as if she had motors
inside of her.

I say, "Nice kitty"
and stroke her fur,
and though she can't talk
and I can't purr,
she understands me,
and I do her. 
- Aileen Fisher

Place the poem  on a large poster.  If you laminate the poem  it can be used for other skills and in many other ways.
Analysis Plus:  I found the cat poem below a great tool to teach the r controlled vowels of ir, er, ur. (bossy r.) I lettered the poem on a large poster and then outlined in red the ir, er, and ur  in the words. I asked the students to either read it or I read it to them. I then asked why some words have red letters in them.  Isolate those words on the board or on flash cards.
Run the poem off and have them highlight all the words with a particular phonetic element.   
Flash the poem onto the white board. With the computer/projector, highlight words as the students discover the r controlled vowels.                                         
  Break the group  into sub groups and have each sub group read a different stanza. Repeated readings not only develops fluency but a feeling of confidence and security so essential for young readers.  Save the poems in their poetry binder or folders.
Prepare a poem for each phonetic element using the above suggestions; e.g., for the long e:
A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea
★A Treasure Trove of Awesome Alliteration/Enchanted Learning
  1. Picture Books for Vowel Sounds/

  2. Short Vowel Books by Mrs. Corlette

  3. Long Vowel Books by Mrs. Corlette

Syllable Patterns:

Phonetic Rules for Spellingrules should be pointed out to highlight a spelling pattern, but children should not be asked to memorize or recite them. Tell the students that there are exceptions to every rule so make sure to include usually. Every syllable has a vowel sound.


1. Vowel Rule 1: When there is only one vowel in a word or syllable and the vowel comes between two consonants, the vowel is usually short.

         ex. back, fed, gun, cut, fig

2. Vowel Rule 2: When there is only one vowel in a word or syllable and the vowel comes at the beginning of the word, the vowel is usually short.

         ex: egg, off, it, add, us


3. Vowel Rule 3: When there are two vowels in a word or syllable, the first vowel is usually long and the second is silent.  "When 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking."

         ex: maid, hear, cute, coat, tied


4. Vowel Rule 4: When there is only one vowel in a word or syllable and the vowel comes at the end, the vowel is usually long.

         ex: why, no, he


5. Vowel Rule 5: When a is followed by u, w, r, ll, and lt in the same syllable, it often has the third sound of a, the Italian a.

         ex: haul, pause, scar, fall, pawn, fault


6. Vowel Rule 6:  When Y comes at the end of a two or more syllable word, Y has the sound of long e if the Y syllable is unaccented.

         ex: funny, penny, soapy, flaky, tidy


7. Vowel Rule 7: When Y comes at the end of a two or more syllable word, Y has the sound of long i if the Y syllable is accented.

         ex: defy, comply, identify, supply, multiply


8. Vowel Rule 8: When words  end with the suffix -ing, -ed, or -er, the first vowel is usually short if it comes between two consonants.

         ex: skinned, helper, canned, robber, shunned


9. Vowel Rule 9: When words end with the suffix -ing, -ed, or -er, the first vowel is usually long if it comes before a single consonant.

         ex: tamer, noted, user, zoning, cubed,

Basic Spelling Rules


1.-ck: The /k/ sound at the end of a one syllable, short vowel word is usually spelled -ck. It is also used in two syllable words ending in -et and -le.

         ex: back, flick, truck, neck, clock

         ex: jacket, tickle


2. The letter c  usually has the soft sound of /s/ when it comes before an e, i, or y. It has the hard sound of /k/ when it comes before an a, o, or u.

         ex: city, cell, cycle

         ex: come, can, cut


3. The letter g usually has the soft sound of /j/ when it comes before an e, i, or y. It has the hard sound when it comes before an a, o, or u.

         ex: gym, gem, gin

         ex: go, game, gun


4. FLOSS Rule: In a one syllable word double the final f, l, s, and z after a single vowel.

         ex: staff, tell, miss, buzz, roll

(common exceptions: if, clef, gas, this, us, yes, bus, plus)


*Final -s sounded as /z/ is never doubled.

         ex: as, is, was, has, his


5. -tch: Use -tch to spell the /ch/ sound after one short vowel at the end of a one syllable word and also in a few two syllable words.

         ex: patch, itch, stretch, kitchen

(common exceptions: such, much, rich, which)


6. -dge: Use -dge to spell the /j/ sound after one short vowel on the end of a one syllable word and also in a few two syllable words.

         ex: judge, bridge, dodge, gadget


7. Silent -e:

         A. Silent -e on the end of a word "makes" the single vowel before it  long.  This is called the "magic e rule."

         ex: hop-hope, can-cane, pin-pine, cut-cute

  1. It makes y = /i/- type, style

  2. Ivo P. Greif after doing a study of words ending in v/c/final e, stated that the rule is so unreliable that it is useless. See reference at the bottom of the page.

8. -ve: A final /v/ sound is always spelled -ve.

         ex: gave, have, behave


9. -zz, -ze: A word never ends with a single z.

         A. Use -zz after a short vowel.

         B. Use -ze after long vowels or vowel combinations

         ex: fizz, buzz, freeze, ooze


  1. 10.q, v, w, x, and y:  These letters are never doubled.

taken in part from Professor Phonics Gives Sound Advice by Monica Foltzer, M. Ed. St. Ursula Academy 1965, 1974, 1976

Duane R. Tovey in Children’s grasp of phonics terms vs. sound - symbol relationships quotes Reid’s (1966) and Downing’s (1970) studies. “Instruction in terminology is logical but not psychological- children don’t seem to learn that way. Children cannot readily handle the abstract technical terms used by teachers.” Downing also claimed  that the teaching of formal phonics rules is not only unnecessary but may cause long-term reading difficulties.

Tovey maintains that children should be encouraged and helped to make associations with phonetic elements in known words with unknown words. They should be encouraged to discover patterns. Avoid phonetic terms and emphasize  the sound-symbol relationships.

Syllabication Rules

1. Every syllable has one vowel sound.

2. The number of vowel sounds in a word equals the number of syllables.

home = 1 sub ject = 2 pub lish ing = 3

3. A one syllable word is never divided.

                 stop        feet        bell

  1. 4.Consonant blends and digraphs are never separated.

             rest ing       bush el       reach ing

  1. 5.When a word has a ck or an x in it, the word is usually divided after the ck

                        nick el      tax

6. A compound word is divided between the two words that make the compound word.

           in side   foot ball   tooth brush

7. When two or more consonants come between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided between the first two consonants.

                sis ter   but ter   hun gry

8. When a single consonant comes between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided after the consonant if the vowel is short.

                     lev er    cab in       hab it

9. When a single consonant comes between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided before the consonant if the vowel is long.

           ba sin      fe ver         ma jor

10. When two vowels come together in a word, and are sounded separately, divide the word between the two vowels.

        ra di o          di et              i de a

11. When a vowel is sounded alone in a word, it forms a syllable itself.

        grad u ate         a pron              u nit

12. A word that has a prefix is divided between the root word and the prefix.

      dis count         mis fit           un tie

13. When be, de, ex and re are at the beginning of a word, they make a syllable of their own.

        be came       de fend       ex hale      re main

14. A word that has a suffix is divided between the root word and the suffix.

       kind ness       thank ful          stuff ing

15. le and the consonant before it, forms a separate syllable

        pur ple         fum ble         mid dle

16.When –ed comes at the end of a word, it forms a syllable only when preceded by d or t.

         start ed             fund ed

17. When a word or syllable ends in al or el, these letters usually form the last syllable.

            lev el             us u al

18. The suffixes able and ible form their own syllable.

             print able             con vert ible

19. When ture and tion are at the end of a word, they make their own syllable.

             lo tion               pos ture

  1. 20.A word should be divided between syllables at the end of a line. The hyphen(-) stay with the syllable at the end of the line

  1. Syllabication edHelper

  2. Big List of Prefixes and Suffixes and Their Meaningsl

Tip: Establish an anchor word and picture for each phonetic element. Place each element and word on a  5 1/2” by 8”  and illustrate. Laminate. Have these available for a quick review of the sounds. Ask a few students each day or so to quickly give you the sound as you flash the cards. A poster of these anchor words can be posted elsewhere for reference during the day.

Phonics: knowing about letters and sounds in written words - more important for encoding (spelling)  than for decoding ( reading.)

Phonics alone is like the trunk of an elephant  in  Seven Blind Mice  by Ed Young

Phonics only helps if the words are already in one’s hearing vocabulary: reading to children from birth on, will lay the ground work for reading in general and phonics specifically. Phonics is more important for spelling than it is for decoding.  Some authorities such as those who wrote the Nation of  Readers recommend that phonics instruction be completed by the end of the second grade.

Phonics has its short comings. Every rule is broken at some time; e.g., I no sooner tell the children, “When there is only one vowel in the word between two consonants the vowel is usually short.” The next word invariably will be kind, find, mind, wild, or mild. I no sooner tell the children, “When two vowels come together the first vowel is usually long. The next reading invariably will have eight or grief. ea has three sounds like in eat, bread, break etc. etc. etc.

Phonics must always be balanced with meaning so when a child is reading, e.g.,  “Tilly and Matthew recycled the cat in the tree,” they will realize it doesn’t make sense and read, “Tilly and Matthew rescued the cat.” Before you ask a student to sound out a word, ask the students what would make sense.

Understanding of the structure of the language is very important. A noun follows a noun maker such as “a” and “the.”  “He will present the present.” There is a structure to a story: a beginning, middle and end which helps the very young to to predict. A sense of structure and proper grammar develops through listening to stories

Phonic worksheets are a waste of time and money. Too often worksheets end up being a guessing game and then a memory exercise. Students need to hear the sound and practice pronouncing the word containing a specific sound.

Integrate phonics - it should be part of the reading program building on the students’ experiences.  Use meaningful words- words from the text- to teach/reinforce a phonetic element. You can arrange sets of words on a transparency or poster and have them readily available for reinforcement.  Highlight the phonetic element. Have the children practice pronouncing the words. Keep the lesson short. When the phonetic element is seen in their text, remind them of the sound and if apropos display the list of words on the transparency/poster.

Focus on reading, not on learning rules. Teach the children to compare new words to known words, phonetic element, or clusters they recognize or know.

Don’t overload their memory; they will blow a   fuse - forget everything.                                                           

Gifted children appear to intuit words; they do not rely on phonics but they need it for writing.

Phoneme Segmenting and Blending

Some children have trouble blending. Help them unlock words through rhyming. Help them to recognize a cluster and add on to it.

Try and have the children analyze similarities in words. Isolate the sound through highlighting and  guide them in forming the rule instead of  just telling them the rule.

Ignore mistakes unless it changes the meaning.

The Star” is another poem that can be used to teach a phonetic element such as the igh/ight or the ar  sound. Make a copy of the poem for each student. Read the poem several times via choral reading and singing. Then give each student the same color marking pen. Have them highlight all the igh/ight words. Read all the high lighted words. On another day hand out the same poem with a different color marking pen. Reread the poem as a choral piece. Mark all the words with an ar sound etc.

     For extra practice, have a list of igh/ight words placed on an transparency or from the computer or iipad,  flash them on a white board.

Mrs. Friedman’s Short Vowel Book

Mrs. Friedman’s Short Vowel Book cont.

Phonics instruction should never dominate reading instruction. At least half  the  time devoted to reading should be spent reading connected text -stories, poems, plays, trade books etc.  N o more than 25% (and possibly less) of the time should be spent on phonics instruction.Teach only the rules that are frequently used. Children should read some text daily, preferably a complete story, with phonics instruction integrated into the text reading.

Steven Stahl, The Reading Teacher april 1992

On sets and Rimes/Word Families -an alternative to teaching rules
Make “Flip Books” with the rime of the family on the right-hand side of the book (e.g.  _ an) and “flip over” page with onsets (e.g., can, fan, ran) 

Let’s  Sing Word Families
Learn to Read Word Families
Phonics Word Families Pininterest
Word Families- Rebus Rhymes
Phonics’ Failures & Fun with Phonology
Printable Booklets
              Inventive Spelling                 
When children work  at listening to sounds and writing them they are learning the phonic principles. Inventive spelling  serves the same purpose as direct phonics instruction only better- it is meaningful just more time consuming.

Poetry to Teach Phonemic Awareness

  1. BulletTeaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry- poems included By Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz 

  1. BulletPopcorn by Helen H. Moore

Phonological Awarness Activities

Comprehensive Literacy Resource for K Teachers

  1. Teaching Phonics through Poetry/First Grade/7day unit plan

The following poems and lesson plans include:

  1. 1. “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson

  2. 2. “The Purple Cow” by Gelett Burgess

  3. 3.. “My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson

  4. 4. “Rope Rhyme” by Eloise Greenfield

5. “I Know All the Sounds the Animals Make” by Jack Prelutsky

6. “Table Manners” by Gelett Burgess

7. “Sing a Song of People” by Lois Lenski”

8. Lesson plans for each of the above poems are included in the site: Teaching Phonics Through Poetry

  1. POETRY AS AN INTEGRATOR  byAnna Ingham/

Daily schedule of activities includes suggestions for the week for the following poems:

The Little Seed/ magic “e”; long u

Robin in the Rain / ay; ing; 2 syllable words

Funny Man / ow; ight

Jump and Jiggle / verbs and gle words

  1. BulletA Rhyme a Week:Nursery Rhymes for Early Literacy


Thunder Clashes

Lightening Flashes

Rain Splashes

As the storm rolls in

The loud thunder sound

The lightening touches down

The rain hits the ground

As the storm grows wild

The thunder wakes the night

The lightening so wild and bright

The rain no longer lite

As the storms is in full

The thunder no longer grim

The lightening now growing dim

The rain is getting slim

As the storm rolls on

Now the storm is done

I can almost see the sun

Boy wasn't that fun

And the storm has moved on

Cindy Burke


Nine Guidelines for Exemplary Phonics Instruction

by Steven A Stahl  Reading Teacher april 1992

  1. 1.Builds on a child’s rich concepts about how print functions.

“Letter-sound instruction makes no sense to a child who does not have an overall conception of what reading is about.”

This experience comes from being read to and observing someone writing- modeling for them.

2.Builds on a foundation of phonemic awareness- awareness of sounds in spoken words.

  1. 3.Is clear and direct. “Circling pictures, coloring, cutting, and pasting, and so on wastes a lot of time.”

  2. 4.Is integrated into a total reading program. “”Phonics instruction no matter how useful it is , should never dominate reading instruction. rule of thumb is that at least half of the time devoted to reading ( and possibly more) should be spent reading connected text- stories, poems, plays, trade books, and so on. No more that 25% ( and possible less) should be spent on phonics instruction and practice....What is taught should be directly usable in children’s reading.”

  3. 5.Focuses on reading words, not learning rules. “Effective decoders see words  not in terms of phonics rules, but in terms of patterns of letters that are used ...”  Draw children’s attention to the order of letters in words and patterns. Rules can be  useful to a point.  Research shows that 45% of the commonly taught phonics rules worked as much as 75% of the time. Rules can be taught when studying a particular spelling pattern but children should not be asked to memorize them.

  4. 6.May include onsets and rimes. Have children compare an unknown word to a known word and use context to confirm their prediction.

  5. 7.May include invented spelling practice   - learning phonics principles, but learning them “naturally.”  A good substitute for direct phonics instruction.

  6. 8.Develops independent  word recognition strategies, focusing attention on the internal structure of words. ”It is through the learning of these patterns that children learn to recognize words efficiently.”

  7. 9.Develops automatic word recognition skills so that students can devote their attention to comprehension, not words.” the purpose of phonics instruction is not that children learn to sound out words. The purpose is that they learn to recognize words, quickly and automatically, so that they can turn their attention to comprehension.” (Samuels, 1988) Reading is the best practice in recognizing words. Studying words in isolation is a waste of time.

  8. Good phonics instruction is over quickly.- completed by the end of second grade. Spending time teaching  the schwa, the silent k, assigning accent to polysyllabic words  is at best a waste of time.

“Library books rather than workbooks, should be used by children not working with the teacher.  Writing should  be incorporated into the teaching of reading.”

“Literature, writing, and thinking are not exclusive properties of any one approach to beginning reading.”

“Some teachers overdo phonics.”

  1. J.Chall in the Learning to Read: the Great Debate

The written material being pronounced must be within the listening comprehension abilities of the child.

"Texas- ReadingFirst Program owned by President Bush's Brother Neil Bush is a Fraud Scam."Educational Cyber  Play Ground (2011 )
“Reading Recovery has a proven successful track record that the Bush connections refused to fund so their own son' Neil Bush's business Reading First would not have competition. ..”
“Two causal factors underlie the assumptions behind NCLB and Reading First, both of them profoundly flawed and contradicted by researchers.
Causal factor 1 is students' ineffective phonological awareness and phonics instruction, which Reading First advocates seek to remedy with a ‘systematic, explicit, intensive, sequential phonics instruction’ and ‘direct instruction (pre-teaching) of vocabulary to promote reading comprehension.’ The drawback, Cummins argued, is that one of things the U.S. National Reading Panel "showed, which has been systematically fudged and distorted by folks who brought you Reading First, is that intensive phonics instruction – what they call intensive instruction – showed no positive effect on reading comprehension beyond the first grade for either low-achieving or normally achieving readers. ... For low-achieving kids, for normally achieving kids, any effects of phonics instruction washed out after grade one. That has not been broadly advertised by the Feds." ~Jim Cummins

Wylie and Durrell  (1970) identified 37 high utility phonograms that can be found in almost 500 primary words. These are: ack, ail, ain ake, ale, ame, an, ank, ap, ask, at, ate, aw, ay, eat, ell, et ice, icek, ide, ight, ill, in , ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck, ug, ump, unk,

-le, compound words, long i,  contractions, ch,  long i and e

Phonics has many short comings:

-Phonics only helps if the words are already in one’s hearing vocabulary.

  1. -Every rule is broken at some time; e.g., I no sooner tell the children, “When there is only one vowel in the word and between two consonants the vowel is usually short.” The next word invariably will be kind, find, mind, wild, or mild.

  2. -Phonics is a skill; readers occasionally use skills but constantly need to use strategies. For the emergent reader only the initial letter sound is needed.

  3. -With so many varied speech patterns around the county, how can phonics be the primary approach to reading? There is a single spelling across dialects that pronounce words very differently. My son once stopped a Boston police officer for directions. He asked the officer to repeat it five times and finally gave up. My son couldn’t figure out what the officer was saying.

  4. -“And when the rules being taught do not match the learner's own dialect, it is that much more confusing and that much harder to learn. Yet another barrier for far too many children! “

  5. -How about the children with an auditory discrimination problem? They can not learn via phonics. Extra help in phonic lessons is a waste of time.

  6. -There is no carry over. My grandchildren reinforced the fact that there was no carry over from what they learned in the structured phonetic approach to their reading.

“Children’s Spelling Strategies”

The Reading Teacher

Vol. 57.NO 4. Dec. 2003-Jan. 2004

Phonic Books to run off (A-Z)

Teaching Phonics does not have to be taught in sequence. Teach phonetic skills when the text lends itself .

Phonetic Skills needed to be taught:

  1. -Alliteration, Rhyme, Onsets and Rhymes

  2. - Single Consonants Sounds

  3. -Consonant Clusters (bl, gr, and sp)

  4. -Consonant Digraphs (sh, ch, and th )

  5. -Short Vowels

  6. -Long Vowels

  7. -Vowel or Vowel- Consonant Pairs (oo, ew, oi, and oy)

Assessing students’ decoding skills

Emergent Readers

  1. -beginning consonants

  2. -end consonants

  3. -medial consonants

  4. -consonant blends (bl, gr, sp )

  5. -consonant digraphs (th, th, ch )

  6. -short vowels

  7. -long vowels

  8. -vowel pairs (oo, ew, oi, oy )

  1. Early/Fluent Readers

  2. -inflected forms (-s, -es, -ed,  -ing, -ly)

  3. -contractions

  4. -possessives

  5. - compound words

  6. - syllables

  7. - base words

  8. - root words

  9. - prefixes

  10. - suffixes

In a Reading First Impact Final Report, children participating in Reading First classrooms where there is an intensive, decoding-based curriculum, did not do better on tests of reading comprehension in grades one, two, and three, despite considerable extra instructional time.

The National Reading Panel: The pattern of success at decoding and failure at comprehension as a result of intensive phonics instruction was present in the foundation document for Reading First, the report of the National Reading Panel. Children trained with intensive phonics did not do significantly better on tests in which they had to understand what they read. The same goes for Direct Instruction.

The results of studies suggest that a high level of proficiency in decoding is not a preliminary step in learning to read.

Heavy Skills Instruction not Necessary

... heavy, systematic phonics instruction of the kind supplied by Reading First is not necessary. Children who have been given the opportunity to do a great deal of interesting, comprehensible reading and have less decoding instruction, perform as well as or better than children in decoding-emphasis classes on decoding tests, and typically score higher on tests that test what really counts in reading: comprehension.

Children who learned to read on their own with little or no explicit decoding instruction appear to be able to decode quite well.

In summary: Those who receive only intensive instruction in decoding do not do well on tests of reading comprehension, but those who learn to read by reading, by understanding what is on page, do well on tests of both decoding and reading comprehension.

This position does not exclude the teaching of "basic" phonics. A small amount of consciously learned knowledge of the rules of phonics can help in the beginning stages to make texts comprehensible, but there are severe limits on how much phonics can be learned and applied... The Reading First Final Report thus confirms the common-sense view that the path to reading proficiency is not through worksheets but through books and stories.

oi words          synomyms        contractions

Phonic Activities /More Links

  1. Storybots development of phonics

  2. U Tube Blending Sounds Idea

  3. UTube Onset-Rime Blending  (Skip Ad)

  Books/Stories Lists to Teach Phonics

Teaching phonics through poems,chants,big books, nursery rhymes, songs and literature is far more interesting and meaningful.

Angus and the Cat, Who Took the Farmer’s Hat, Sheep in the Jeep,  The Cat in the Hat and all Dr. Seuss’ books...

Phonic Generalizations in Chrysanthemum

instructional plan for ow, ew, aw

Teaching Specific Individual Sounds

  1. Learning M/Read WriteThink

  1. Sound of the Week by Lybbert  3-6 Yr. Old

  2. Sound of the Week/Th by Lybbert

  3. Blends & Consonant Clusters A-Z PhonicsTeacher Stuff

  4. UTube Wh Song

  5. UTube Ch Sh Th Wh Song

  1. Laughing Elephant: gh and ph consonant digraphs | Product Detail ...

  2. Using Fold Tales : Vowel Influences on the Letter G NCTE

The three following sites are working with  oi and oy. I suggest that you don’t waste time reinforcing these two digraphs because those words usually can be decoded  semantically.

  1. Practice oi, oy - (Diphthong)/Soft School

  2. Look,Cover,Write, Check-vowel digraphs

  3. Dipthongs ou & ow Games / Soft Schools     

                   Ow, the “pinching vowel”

  1. Ten Little Snowmen 0w

  2. Schwa Sound

  3. Silent E Spelling Rule/Garden of Praise

Familiar words can be read as fast as single letters. Under some conditions, words can be identified when the separate letters cannot be. Meaningful context speeds word identification. All phonics can be expected to do is help children get approximate pronunciations.  Becoming a Nation of Readers p. 11

My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter revealed something amazing to me. I read her a story that her mother read to her many times-

Are You My Mother? When I got to the page with many animals, I did not read them in sequential order. I would just form my lips to indicate the first sound. Each time she could tell me what animal I was going to read by just looking at the formation of my lips.

Doesn’t it stand to reason an older child would be helped to figure out a word by just getting their mouth ready to pronounce the initial consonant or vowel as long as they are concentrating on the meaning of the story? Phonics needs to be kept in balance with syntax and semantic clues.

The following passage exemplifies the fact that   phonics is only part of the decoding process.  The first and last letters are correct. One must not negate the importance of syntax and semantics.

O lny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty  uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig  to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,

it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the   ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat  ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll  raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey  lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas  tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

 Teaching Through Songs

Singing is a fun activity - a rote way of learning the phonetic sounds; however, we must conserve our time and use singing as a means of varying the mode of teaching/learning. It should not consume more than a minute or two of instructional time. Teaching comprehension skills requires close observation and guidance via strategic questioning and relating the text to the students’ experience. 
    There is always the problem of transferring skills taught in isolation. As Steven Stahl stated, “No more than 25% (and possibly less) time should be spent on phonics instruction.”

Songs for Teaching Phonics 
Starfall’s Song for Phonics:
Short AStarfall
Short e
Short i
Short o
Short u
Pick a Pumpkin -u
Long a
Long e
Long i
Long o
Long u

Mrs. Jones - Sing Along:The Short Aa Song Plus ABC Sing-Alongs
Muscial Spelling Rules/Garden of Praise


A Frickin' Elephant   


                      Jake is five and learning to read.                   


                   He points at a picture in a zoo book and                

                 says, "Look Mama! It's a frickin' elephant!"              


                    Deep breath... "What did you call it?"                 


                       "It's a frickin' Elephant, Mama!                    


                         It says so on the picture!"                       


                              and so it does...                            



                          " A f r i c a n Elephant "                       


                              Hooked on phonics!                           

                             Ai n't it wonderful?                           




Below are a few phonic rules that cover some problematic sounds. The ed is problematic for the second language learner. It either takes a t, as in tent, d as in mend, or ed sound as in Ed. The oo has two sounds: book/ moon.

C or G followed by an i, e, or y takes a soft sound. C/s G/j

Taken from:  Professor Phonics Gives Sound Advice       Copyright 1965