Where do we start when teaching phonics?
The act of reading is explained by the following formula: (decoding sounds and words) x (language comprehension) = reading comprehension (Gough and Tumner, 1986). Proficient readers can both decode words in text (sound them out) and draw meaning from these words. But for beginning or struggling readers, decoding is a critical piece of the reading equation that is extremely hard to master. How can adults support students in becoming proficient readers? What skills do early learners need? Where do we even start?
Before receiving my PhD, I taught for over a decade in urban and suburban elementary schools as a special education teacher, teacher-trainer, and literacy coach. One thing is clear, the past decade has seen a renewed call for children to explicitly learn the principles of sound-symbol correspondences or phonics. Quality phonics instruction provides early readers with the necessary skills to decode new words while reading. As students become fluent decoders, they encounter new vocabulary which supports their ability to comprehend the materials they read. This cyclical process, decoding and comprehending, enables children to develop proficient reading skills.
Learning phonics with Mrs Wordsmith's Foolproof Phonics
Impactful phonics instruction includes multiple components such as cyclical review, attention to letter-sound connections, spelling instruction, and lots of practice. Foolproof Phonics by Mrs Wordsmith reinforces several key phonics skills while supporting classroom reading instruction. Engaging students with delightful cartoon characters and audio-visual reinforcements, Foolproof Phonics provides much needed daily practice and review of foundational phonics skills. Each lesson page includes a QR square where children can hear the pronunciation of letters or letter combinations. The accompanying illustrations include opportunities to practise phonemic awareness skills as well as print awareness training. Finally, students will learn how to blend and segment words, receiving cyclical practice of previously learned material to ensure letter-sound mastery.
As part of a comprehensive reading program, Foolproof Phonics provides teachers, parents, and guardians the opportunity to review foundational early reading skills. With engaging materials, bright illustrations, and interactive features, children will enjoy practising phonics lessons without boring drills and endless workbook pages.
I encourage you to sit side-by-side with your student or child daily and engage with them for just 10 minutes using the Foolproof Phonics materials. The interactions and practice will support your students or child in developing necessary early reading skills needed to achieve.
Written by Susan J. Chambre, PhD – Assistant Professor of Education, Marist College