The association between written letters and sounds.
Click here to access a printable copy of the information presented on this page.
What it is: Phonics instruction teaches students to understand and learn the relationship between the letters (graphemes) of written language and the individual sounds (phonemes) of spoken language (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2000). What it is NOT: Phonics is not learning the alphabet or knowing the names of individual letters.
Why is phonics important? Readers need to have a variety of strategies to use when they encounter unfamiliar words. Some of those strategies may include using context clues, syntax, and graphophonics- constructing meaning by way of background knowledge, cues, and context clues (Adams, 1998). Another strategy that readers need in their repertoire of decoding skills is the knowledge of the sound-spelling relationship, also known as phonics. The Scholastic website provides an article titled "Understanding Phonics" that lays out the basic information educators and parents need to know before teaching phonics and highlights the need for children to have explicit phonics instruction to increase their supply of reading strategies to draw on while encountering unfamiliar words. Click here to read "Understanding Phonics". In addition to the Scholastic article provided above, The International Reading Association's Literacy Leadership Brief, released in 2018, was designed to help parents to gain a comprehensive understanding of what phonics is, when it's taught, and how it's taught in schools. Click here to read a full copy of the 2018 Literacy Leadership Brief.
HOW IS PHONICS TAUGHT IN SCHOOL?
The following videos demonstrate how phonics instruction may be implemented in your child's classroom.
View this phonics video from Kids TV 123 to learn the letter sounds. A teacher may use a video similar to this to introduce children to letter sounds or to help reinforce phonics skills previously taught.
The Alphabet Chart video demonstrates a teacher modeling the sounds of the alphabet with an alphabet chart.
The Lettered Classroom provides an excellent example of how phonics is taught in the classroom in a variety of ways (whole group, small group, and independent work).
ACTIVITIES TO DO AT HOME
Practical activities that will improve your child's phonics skills.
Shaving Cream Letters
This is a multi-sensory approach to learning letter sounds. Spray shaving cream onto a surface and, with your child, write the letter and say the letter sound simultaneously to create the letter/sound association.
Gift of Curiosity, (2015, Nov 27). Shaving Cream Letters [photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.giftofcuriosity.com/shaving-cream-letters-101-ways-to-teach-the-alphabet/
Alphabet Sound Chart
Practice the alphabet sound chart with your child at home to reinforce the skills they are learning in the classroom. Be sure to watch the video above that demonstrates the correct way to practice the alphabet sound chart with your child at home and click on the resources below for your own printable alphabet sound chart.
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS
Click on the images below to print a FREE alphabet, consonant blend, challenging sounds, and vowel chart.
Charts provided by the Kumon website.
What does it SOUND like?
Click on the buttons below to hear the correct pronunciation for alphabet sounds, consonant combinations sounds, challenging sounds, and vowel sounds.
Examples provided by the Kumon website.
Want to assess your child's phonics skills at home?
Click on the image below to get a FREE Teachers Pay Teachers copy of a letter identification and sound identification assessment. Directions for the assessment are provided in the free download.
Schoeck, C. (N.D.) Letter and Sound ID Assessment [graphic]. Retrieved from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/.