First thing first, what is phonics?
Once we understand what phonics is, it will be easy to see why phonics is considered to be a critical reading skill. Simply put, phonics is a method of teaching students how to read and write by understanding the sounds of individual letters, letter groups, and syllables. The goal of teaching phonics to students is to help them develop their “phonemic awareness”–that is to say, their ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
Ok, but how exactly does phonics help students read better?
Phonics is an efficient and effective tool that allows students to “sound out”–or work out–the pronunciation of written words that they don’t recognize using their knowledge of letter-sound relationships. This process is known as “decoding”, as students match letters to sounds so that they can break the “code” that is the unfamiliar words. In this sense, phonics gives students the tools to decode almost every word that they come across–how powerful is that!
Who can benefit from phonics?
Phonics is an essential part of school curriculum for young learners, as research by the National Reading Panel has shown teaching phonics to be more effective than any other approaches to early reading. Phonics is usually taught from kindergarten and up to the second grade. The benefits of phonics, however, reach way beyond K-2. Research has shown that phonetic learning has significant benefits for students in kindergarten all the way through 6th grade, as well as for children having difficulty learning to read. The same studies have also shown that the benefits are maximized when phonics is taught systematically and gradually, starting with the most basic elements and working up to more challenging ones.
How can phonetic learning be supported at home?
Other than providing students with a positive learning environment, phonetic learning can also be supplemented at home to further consolidate the students’ phonetic knowledge. Make sure to stock the house with lots of appropriate reading materials–such as decodable books— so students can get the extra practice that will boost their reading levels.
Wait, what are decodable books?
Decodable books are books written with a focus on a specific phonetic pattern that is used throughout the entire text, making it an ideal way for students to practice and consolidate their phonetic knowledge. Appropriately leveled decodable books can also help to develop the student’s reading automaticity and fluency.
Where can decodable books be found?
Decodable books are widely available at libraries, bookstores, as well as online. Here at Phunics we are committed to creating and providing fun and entertaining decodable stories that engage the readers and help them advance in their reading levels. Discover the power of decodable stories today! The first three stories from each level on our site are free for anyone to enjoy. Happy reading!