Does the reading program you are reviewing teach explicit, systematic phonics?
To find out answer these questions:
Yes No Yes No 1. Are all five short-vowel sounds (a in apple, e in elephant, i in igloo, o in ostrich, u in umbrella) taught in isolation before any whole words are introduced? 1. Are students asked or allowed to guess at unknown words? For example, are they asked "What would make sense in this sentence?" Are they encouraged to look at a picture to help figure out a word? 2. Are all consonant sounds taught in isolation (b in boy, k spelled c in cat and k in kite, d in dog, and so on) before whole words using those sounds are introduced? 2. Are students asked or allowed to skip words they don't know? 3. Are at least one short-vowel sound and several consonant sounds taught in isolation before whole words using only those sounds are introduced? For example: Short a and consonant sounds t, p, and n are taught before students read words such as tap, tan, nap. 3. Are students asked or allowed to substitute a known word for an unknown word? For example, are they allowed to substitute pony for horse while reading? 4. During the first grade: Are all 44 sounds in the English language and the 70 most common ways of spelling those sounds taught in isolation? For example: th, sh, ch, wh, ck, ay, ai, eigh, ea, ee, ei, ie, igh, oe, ough, ow, ou, ew, ue, oo, oy, oi, ar, er, ur, or and so on. 4. Are students encouraged or allowed to use "invented" or creative spelling? For example, students may write ct for cat, mr for mother, usually leaving out vowel sounds. 5. Are students taught to blend and read each letter in each word, from left to right? 5. Are students taught to look at beginning and ending consonants, but not the vowels in between? 6. Do the reading selections conform to the phonics rules already taught? That is, are the reading selections decodable by students, without guessing? 6. Do the reading selections introduce words before students are taught the sounds and spelling patterns that make up those words? Scoring:
Column A: If you answered yes to all 6 questions, the reading program is an explicit, systematic phonics program. RECOMMENDED.
Column B: If you answered yes to one or more questions, the reading program is either a whole-language program or an incomplete phonics program. DO NOT USE.
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