You know that saying, “fake it ’til you make it”? That’s what I felt like I was doing my first year or so while teaching phonics. I felt like maybe I learned this stuff in college, but then again did I? My first school I taught at sent new teachers for phonics training, so for that I am so thankful. If you don’t receive proper phonics training or you just don’t feel that confident in teaching phonics, then you’ve come to the right place.
What is phonics?
Phonics is the method we use to teach people how to read. There are 26 alphabetical sounds, but did you know there are 44 sounds in the English language? That’s because you can make a sound by combining letters as well. It is important for our students to be able to read these sounds so that they can read words and not depend on the text and pictures to read.
What is segmenting and blending?
Segmenting and blending is what our students will learn to do to read a word. When segmenting, a student would read each sound of a word. For example, when reading the word bat, they would segment each sound to be /b/ /a/ /t/. Once they had enough practice segmenting the sound individually, they would be able to blend the word into bat.
Teaching Phonics Tips
Here are some important beginner tips for teaching phonics:
- Explicit instruction is important: When teaching phonics, make sure you are teaching your students what the letter says. They need to know the difference between the letter name and the letter sound.
- Keep phonics instruction simple and let them practice: Giving your students ample opportunity to practice what they know (especially within a text) is so important. Teaching a phonics skill one day and expecting mastery the second day is not feasible. However, don’t wait until every student in your class “has it” before moving on. It is important to meet students where they are, not where you are.
- Make it short and sweet: I’m not referring to the lesson this time. I’m referring to how you say a sound. So many times, I hear people saying a sound and making it so long. For example, /t/ is not tuhhhhhhhh. Do not add that /uh/ sound to the end. When you say a sound, it should be short and sweet and to the point.
Helpful Phonics Resources For Beginners
Ready to implement phonics instruction into your every day? Make sure to check out these valuable resources.
Pop The Balloon! Phonics Small Group Game
Pop The Balloon! was a lifesaver for me for reviewing phonics will my class. Each guided reading group would begin by playing this quick 5 minute review game. Each student gets a card and reads the sounds or words from bottom to top to “pop the balloon”. This is a fun game to help students in segmenting their words and reviewing phonics sounds.
Phonics Anchor Charts
These anchor charts help you with your explicit instruction. They have rules and examples on each chart with the phonics sound. They are great to refer back to when teaching a phonics lesson.
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