WHAT IS PHONICS?
The relationship between how we speak and spell words. The individual speech sounds in oral language are represented in writing by individual letters and by combinations of letters. For example, boy has the sounds /b/ and /0i/ and therefore is spelled /b-oy/.
HOW IS PHONICS INFORMATION BEST TAUGHT?
Directly, systematically, and intensively. Students should be explicitly taught there relationships between letters and sounds and not left to "infer" them on their own, or to memorize whole words by sight. They should be provided regular and adequate practice in order to ensure they develop fluency.
WHAT IS PHONEMIC AWARENESS?
The knowledge that all words are a combination of the 44 sounds of spoken English, and the ability to hear those sounds and blend them together.
HOW DOES LEARNING PHONICS HELP STUDENTS READ?
By learning the relationship between letters and letter combinations and the sounds they represent, a student can use this information to decode any word. As their vocabulary increases, words in print can be read accurately with increasing fluency and comprehension.
WHAT IS A PHONOGRAM?
A phonogram is a written representation of a sound made with one or more letters. For example, /B/ says /buh/, SH says /sh/, IGH says /i/.
WHAT IS FLUENCY? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The ability to apply phonetic skills with such automaticity and ease that it appears the student is reading words and not sounds. This allows the student to focus his or her attention on the meaning of the text.
ISN’T THE SPELLING OF ENGLISH TOO UNPREDICTABLE/ IRREGULAR FOR PHONICS TO WORK WELL?
No. Thorough, systematic phonics programs minimize the number of exceptions and explain logical and consistent patterns in English spelling. In addition, the widespread success of direct and systematic phonics programs demonstrates the benefit of this approach.
SHOULD “SIGHT” WORDS BE LEARNED AS “WHOLES” BEFORE PHONICS INSTRUCTION?
No. The assumption that children recognize words by "sight" without understanding how the letters represent sounds is not supported by evidence-based research. Strong readers decode the sounds so quickly that it appears they are reading whole words, but in fact brain research shows that they blending sounds into words.
No. The Assumption that children recognize words by "sight," without using their letters as cues to their recognition, is not supported by the experimental research. Individual letters are the cues all readers use to recognize words.
WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN WHO CAN RECOGNIZE INDIVIDUAL WORDS, BUT HAVE POOR COMPREHENSION?
Some children have memorized a large number of sight words but have not mastered the fundamental skills of reading and therefore struggle to comprehend. If the child is able to phonetically read words, and still struggles with comprehension, he/she may be lacking in one or more or all of the following:
- Background knowledge in the topics they attempt to read
- Knowledge of the meanings of words in these topics
- Ability to make inferences about the content being read
- Ability to follow the organization or structure of the text that is pursued.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHONICS KNOWLEDGE AND READING COMPREHENSION?
Nothing develops the automatic recognition of written words better than proper phonics instruction. This automatic word recognition allows children to then direct their focus when reading toward the comprehension of written material.
MY SCHOOL SAYS PHONICS INFORMATION IS BEING APPLIED, BUT MY CHILD STILL DOESN'T RECOGNIZE WORDS WELL?
It is highly probable that your school actually teaches phonics information in only an indirect, unsystematic, and non-intensive manner. Since many of today’s schools do not teach phonics skills sufficiently nor suitably, home instruction often becomes necessary.
WHAT DO CHILDREN NEED TO LEARN IN ORDER TO READ WELL?
FIVE MAIN THINGS:
- Phonemic awareness, a recognition that letters represent sounds.
- Knowledge of all the sound symbol relationships in English.
- The ability to read fluently to the point of automaticity.
- Steady growth in vocabulary development.
- Comprehension of what a student can talk about and understand.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO TEST MY CHILD’S READING ABILITY?
WHAT ARE THE BEST TOOLS AVAILABLE TO TEACH MY CHILD HOW TO READ?
Find out more about how to get involved and resources that can be used to help your child become a successful reader.