What is systematic synthetic phonics?
National guidance in the US (Common Core ELA State Standards), the UK (National Curriculum, Letters and Sounds) and Australia (ACARA) promotes an integrated literacy approach using systematic synthetic phonics.
This approach is taught using a systematic and orderly teaching framework, enabling teachers to support children in developing their phonological awareness and phonics knowledge skills. These elements will be described in greater detail below.
A systematic approach to learning is crucial for successful phonics instruction. You may think that a student can learn phonics skills in isolation--there are many apps and worksheets that provide “bitty” or fragmented exercises--but in order to ensure that children develop word-recognition skills and reading fluency, children need a structured (or systematic) and holistic program. Systematic Phonics introduces children to letter-sound correspondences, starting with the most common ones and ranging through to the least common.
Systematic phonics instruction is most effective when provided within the context of a comprehensive reading program which also addresses phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
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Learning the alphabet is the first step on every child’s reading journey. Research shows that children with prior knowledge of the alphabet learn to read more easily and more fluently, so it’s vitally important that the alphabet is taught in a playful and engaging way.
When learning their ABCs, children have to understand that each letter has a different shape and name, and that letters combine to form words. By making it clear that the letter A is not just for apple but also for avocado, children learn that A makes a constant sound across different words. Learning the most common sound that each letter makes is an essential, foundational skill that will be built on later when children encounter phonics.
Read our report, A Deep Dive Into Phonics, for more!