Phonics and Word Study Instruction

What are the goals of Phonics and Word Study instruction?

The goals of Phonics and Word Study instruction, according to Adams (1990), Chard & Osborn (1999) and NRP (2000) are the following:

  1. To teach children that there are systematic relationships between letters and sounds.
  2. Written words are composed of letter patterns representing the sounds of spoken words.
  3. Recognizing words quickly and accurately is a way of obtaining meaning from them.
  4. Students can blend sounds to read words and segment words into sounds to spell.

What should we include in our Phonics and Word Study instruction?

Phonological and phonemic awareness, print awareness, alphabetic knowledge, alphabetic principle, decoding, reading practice with decodable text, irregular or high-frequency words, and reading fluency are the elements that we should include in our Phonics and Word Study Instruction.

How can we teach Phonics and Word Study?

Vaughn &  Linan-Thompson (2004) indicate that once our students meet the prerequisite conditions for word recognition, print awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and phonemic awareness, we can begin teaching them about the four subprocesses essential to teaching phonics and word study: letter-sound knowledge or alphabetic understanding; regular word reading; irregular word reading; and reading in decodable text.

Letter-Sound Knowledge: Select letter-sound relationships that will allow the students to form words.

Regular Word Reading: Once students know three or four letter-sound associations, teachers should begin regular word reading and building activities (i.e., CVC words).

Irregular Word Reading: Select and teach words that appear frequently in stories and informational texts.  These words need to be taught before they appear in a story by discussing the words and any special features and pointing out parts of the words that are regular.  Review these words regularly.

Reading in Decodable Text: Students need to know how to apply their letter-sound knowledge by reading decodable text in order to increase their ability to read and acquire confidence.

Why is it important to teach Phonics and Word Study instruction?

Teaching students about the relationship between graphemes and phonemes allows them to decode and read words.  There are two basic processes necessary for learning to read: Learning to convert letters into recognizable words and comprehending the meaning of print (Gough and Tumner, 1986). Students will not be able to learn to read and spell without first learning the relationship between letters and sounds (Moats, 2000).  Therefore, it is key to teach phonics and word study because early and systematic instruction in phonics leads to better achievement in reading.   

When should Phonics and Word Study instruction start?

Systematic and explicit phonics instruction improves children’s word recognition, spelling, and reading comprehension, and is most effective when it begins in kindergarten and/or 1st grade.  Two years of phonics is sufficient for most students although other students may require additional instruction.

In sum, the combination of Phonics and Word Study helps students with word recognition, reading, and spelling.  If you need resources and activities to strengthen your Phonics and Word Study instruction, please refer to the ones listed below.

Back to School ABC Bundle
CVC Picture Cards for K-1
Fry Sight Words for Kindergarten

I hope that you enjoyed this post! If you need support with Phonics and Word Study instruction, please comment below.

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