Blog – Phonic Skills

Phonic Skills are Necessary in Order to Learn How to Read but They Are Only a Part of a Complete Reading Program

www.phonics.site provides a synthetic, systematic phonics program written for teachers to use in their classrooms. I taught for 40 years in Primary School classrooms, teaching children from Kindergarten to Year 7. I could never find a sequential phonic program that I could confidently follow so over the years I developed this program to use in my classroom.

I have written this program with the hope of helping teachers who wish to use a synthetic, systematic phonics program but are finding it difficult to find such a program to follow.

During the time I have been in the classroom using a synthetic, systematic phonic program to teach reading has come in and out of fashion. Despite the ‘latest fad’ I always used this program because I am convinced it is the most successful way to teach children how to read.

The term ‘synthetic phonics’ refers to a phonic program that teaches children to convert letters into sounds (phonemes). The children then learn how to blend the sounds to form words (eg: c-a-t blends into the word cat).

I find it’s important for the child to learn the ‘name’ of a letter and the ‘sound’ of a letter. Children quite easily learn (for instance), when considering the letter ‘a’, that ‘ay’is its name, ‘a’ is its sound. Similarly when considering the letter ‘b’, that ‘be’is its name, ‘b’ is its sound. (It’s difficult to explain this in writing.)

Phonic Skills are Necessary in Order to Learn How to Read but They Are Only a Part of a Complete Reading Program

A phonic program is part of the whole reading program. When children are learning how to read they very quickly discover words that they cannot sound out eg here, come, said. These words are called ‘sight words’ or ‘look and say’ words. It is a necessary part of a reading program to introduce these commonly used sight words.  www.phonics.site introduces the commonly used sight words in Phonic Pack Two. I have interwoven the lessons so the teacher can follow the lessons in sequence.

Being able to sound words down onto paper helps the child spell the word correctly. Studying lists of word as each digraph is covered also helps the child spell words correctly. Words which cannot be sounded down onto paper present another challenge and need to be covered appropriately.

When a single sound is covered it is so easy to introduce the correct letter formation for that letter, so with each single sound activity I have included a handwriting lesson. www.phonics.site presents the handwriting lessons in Modern Victorian Cursive Writing and Foundation Print. If the school you are teaching in does not use either of these letter formations I’m sure you could easily adapt to the letter formation you need.

It is important that children understand what they are reading. To help develop this skill I have included short comprehension exercises where appropriate.

Children also need to be encouraged to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed to their writing. Writingsimple sentences, with correct punctuation, is covered in the activities in www.phonics.site

We learn to read so we can read. It is essential that children are given access to books they can confidently read at their level of development. Each child should be given ample opportunity to read these books orally to gain and improve fluency. There are a lot of excellent series you can choose from to provide the children in your class with interesting books to read. I suggest you choose a series that builds up a reading vocabulary as the books progress. Borrowing books from the school library is also an important part of an over-all classroom reading program.

The joys of teaching are without number,
Glenys Deutscher.