How is phonics taught?
Systematically and sequentially. Teachers give children plenty of practice before moving on. Your child will read short, easy books, containing the particular letter sounds or words they are working on. Children need frequent opportunities to read aloud with the teacher guiding and correcting them. There should also be lots of writing to reinforce the sound-print connection. Here's what your child is likely to learn in each grade:
- Letter recognition: learning the letters of the alphabet.
- Connecting some letters with their sounds (they'll know about 20 sound-symbol connections by the end of the year).
- Phonemic awareness: understanding that words are made of individual, separate sounds. They may be asked to clap out their name, make up nonsense words, or listen for the rhymes in a poem to build sound sensitivity.
- A few sight words.
- Mastery of short and long vowels
- Letter combinations: The "b" sound plus the "r" sound makes the "br" blend, in which you can still hear both of the consonants you started with; "t" plus "h" makes a new "th" sound
- Reading simple words, sentences and stories
- Beyond phonics: word endings, like "-ed" and "-ing," and more sight words, such as is, was, have, and are
- Vowel combinations (what sound does "ea" make? How about "ai"?).
- Spelling patterns of increasing difficulty.
- Multisyllabic words and putting word parts together ("pan" plus "cake" equals pancake).
- Vocabulary and word recognition