As an educator, you have probably already heard of phonics. But chances are that no one has ever sat down with you to explain exactly what phonics instruction is. That’s where we come in – with the help of phonics expert Wiley Blevins, we have compiled the basic information that you need to know before teaching phonics.
What is phonics?
Phonics involves the relationship between sounds and their spellings.
The goal of phonics instruction is to teach students the most common sound-spelling relationships so that they can decode, or sound out, words.
This decoding ability is a crucial element in reading success.
Why is phonics instruction important?
Most poor readers tend to rely so heavily on one reading strategy, such as the use of context and picture clues, that they exclude other strategies that might be more appropriate. To become skilled, fluent readers, children need to have a repertoire of strategies to draw on. These strategies include using a knowledge of sound-spelling relationships — in other words, an understanding of phonics. In addition, research has shown that skilled readers attend to almost every word in a sentence and process the letters that compose each of these words.
Therefore, phonics instruction plays a key role in helping students comprehend text. It helps the student map sounds onto spellings, thus enabling them to decode words. Decoding words aids in the development of word recognition, which in turn increases reading fluency. Reading fluency improves reading comprehension because as students are no longer struggling with decoding words, they can concentrate on making meaning from the text.
In addition, phonics instruction improves spelling ability because it emphasizes spelling patterns that become familiar from reading. Studies show that half of all English words can be spelled with phonics rules that relate to one letter to one sound.
How should you structure phonics instruction?
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