Four Keys to Success in Phonics
1. Phonemic Awareness
Once children have solid Phonic Awareness, Phonics is straightforward.
Twenty-six letters and perhaps 50 major ‘written sounds’ make up the Phonics code.
For children with a solid foundation in Phonemic Awareness, learning letter-sounds is very much like learning the names of other objects.
The child sees a tree and says, “Tree.’
The child sees letter M and says “M-m-m.”
The child sees letters SH and says “Sh-h-h-h.”
This skill is called ‘naming.’
2. Rapid-Accurate Naming
After Phonemic Awareness, nothing is more important to Phonics success than Rapid-Accurate Naming of the letter-sounds.
Rapid-Accurate Naming (RAN) means thinking of the names of things, quickly and correctly.
chair table window tree
Letters are objects too, and they have letter-names like Em, Jay, Ess.
They have sound-names like m-m-m, j-j-j and s-s-s.
Before they learn letters, kids can practice naming speech-sounds-by-picture, with Playful Sounds, which have the advantage of telling the truth about speech sounds (unlike alphabet letters which can be inconsistent).
Children learn Rapid Accurate Naming of letter-sounds by plenty of accurate practice.
For best results, learners need to practice their Phonics letter-sounds
at about 85% accuracy--
that’s better than 8 out of 10 correct responses.
(Note: Rapid-Accurate Naming is typically known as ‘rapid automatic naming.’
However, accurate rehearsal is of first importance.
With accurate rehearsal, ‘rapid’ will develop.
The changed terminology may remind us of the importance of accuracy)
3. Blending and Segmenting
Blending = separate sounds are blended into words
Segmenting = Words are pulled apart into sounds
From Phonemic Awareness training, your learner is already skilled in blending and segmenting.
Continue blending and segmenting games as you practice with phonics words your learner is reading.
4. Apply the Phonics Skills
Choose a Phonics program that includes stories to read.
Students need an opportunity to practice each new letter sound they are learning, in some actual reading.
Phonics readers are not particularly ‘natural’ sounding, because the author is so limited in the words she can use,
But research shows that this kind of reading is vital to a good Phonics program.