17 Jul Are you teaching phonics to kids the right way?
You might have heard me talk about the different approaches to teaching phonics and how they’re not all created equal.
Today I want to dive into a little bit more detail on what makes a phonics program truly effective. This will help you find out if you are teaching phonics to kids the right way.
Incidental phonics is an approach where we read a text with the child and as they come across a word they don’t know we might point out some of the phonic patterns in that word so that they can break down the code and decode the word.
Incidental phonics can tend to be a little bit haphazard and usually only involves one introduction or a few introductions of the word. So it can be really tricky for struggling readers to pick up phonics using incidental phonics because they really need a lot of repetition and structure to be able to break the code.
So there’s nothing wrong with using incidental phonics as an extra approach when we’re practising reading but it shouldn’t be the primary focus of a really good phonics program.
Good phonics programs use what’s called synthetic phonics and this is an approach where we break down the English code and teach one pattern, one sound at a time in a short list of words so that the child achieves mastery in fluency in reading those words before we move on.
What makes a program truly effective?
Having talked about incidental and synthetic phonics, I want to talk a little bit more about what makes a program truly effective and that is making it structured and systematic.
This means that the program follows a clear progression from the easiest patterns through to the more difficult ones usually starting with individual letter sounds and things like consonant blends and consonant digraphs moving on to vowel diagraphs and trigraphs.
It is designed so that the child is carefully introduced to more and more complex phonic patterns throughout the program.
Having a structured and systematic phonics program is what makes the difference between an okay program and a really excellent one.
A lot of teachers do use synthetic phonics in their teaching but sometimes we can overlook the systematic instruction path.
Now I want you to think about the program you’re using.
Are you teaching phonics to kids the right way?
Is it using synthetic phonics?
If yes, is it using a program that is structured and systematic?
Free Phonics Assessment
If you would like to get your hands on a free phonics assessment that will allow you to assess your student’s gap and create a plan for teaching phonics for the entire term, click here.
It’s all laid out with the easiest patterns at the beginning moving on to the more difficult. The phonics assessment will help you to address and laser target the gaps that your learner has so that you can be sure you’re using structured systematic synthetic phonics.
This is the best approach to a phonics program if you’re trying to help struggling readers and spellers.
Inspired Education Services has developed a number of online courses that bring you the most relevant, research-based teaching practices. Some of our courses include:
Click the link above to visit the specific course page or click here to go to the online course page.