We hear so much about phonics that it sounds like it needs a masters degree and 2 hours per day to teach it. I can assure you that this is not the case. In about 25 minutes per day you can give your students the teaching that they need to build sound phoneme/grapheme correspondence and learn to read and spell with the sounds they learn.
Effective phonics lessons are more than a 5 minute introduction, a worksheet and a game of snap. They involve intentionally and explicitly teaching children to recognise graphemes (the letters that make up ‘sounds’), read with them and spell with them. They also involve lots of repetition of previously learned graphemes and the chance for spaced practice. There is no copying in quality phonics lessons. There is also no tracing or activities designed for children to ‘pick up’ the connection between phonemes (sounds) and the letters that present them. Highly effective phonics lessons have the teacher out the front of the group teaching. Every child is actively involved at every step, speaking listening, reading and writing.
So, what does one of these effective lessons look like?
- Let children know what they will be learning and what will happen when they are successful in their learning
- Introduce the grapheme
- Have children say the phoneme while looking at the grapheme
- Children write the grapheme while saying the phoneme
- Sound out words with the new grapheme to read them
- Sound out words with the new grapheme to write them down
- Practice reading words that children have learned before
- Engage in oral phonological and phonemic awareness activities
Let’s dive a little deeper.
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