Phonics is a system for approaching reading that focuses on the relationship between letters and sounds. The teaching has to move from letter/sound correspondences to graphemes, syllables and morphemes.
So, in what order do I teach Phonics skills?
This order gives you a systematic sequence that allows you to individualize it for your students!
A scope and sequence is the backbone of instruction. It guides lessons based on a logical skill sequence, builds on previously learned skills, and allows for the evaluation of gaps or lagging skills and redundancies across grade levels. But it's important to rememberâ¦
The scope and sequence you use for your students should be individualized (and also systematic) for targeted intervention!
Guessing words from context is not as efficient as phonetic decoding. Skilled readers can identify unfamiliar words with a high degree of accuracy by sounding them out, even irregular words. By contrast, researchers have found that even proficient readers are not as skilled at correctly guessing words from context with an accuracy rate of only about 25%.
Research has given us even more knowledge - when we see a word, the areas of the brain responsible for orthography (familiar spelling) and phonology (pronunciation) activate before the areas responsible for the semantic system (meaning).
The key to this is Orthographic Mapping!
Orthographic mapping is the ability to âmapâ or connect frequently occurring letters and letter patterns onto their related sounds. The process of Orthographic Mapping is an integration of several key oral and written language skills. These skills include advanced phonemic awareness, letter - sound knowledge, and phonics skills. As a result, Orthographic Mapping is the ability to quickly and efficiently add words to your sight vocabulary. Sight vocabulary is all the words you instantly recognize.
You can read more about Orthographic Mapping HERE and get an instructional sequence to support Orthographic Mapping!
Early, explicit, and systematic instruction in phonics, along with direct instruction in phonological awareness, can prevent and also remediate reading difficulties. The combination of explicit phonics and phonological training for all students in kindergarten and first grade provides far greater results in word-level reading skills than any other teaching practice that has been studied. Phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary all lead to COMPREHENSION
-the ultimate goal of reading.
Remember - learning to read is a multi-dimensional pursuit. Lots of things have to happen simultaneously. So your lessons should always include all 5 components of reading and spelling.
Grab my 5 Step Reading Lesson Plan HERE!
Happy & Healthy Teaching!
By teaching students to divide words into parts, or "chunks", we help speed up the process of decoding. Knowing the rules for syllable division can help students read words more accurately and fluently. It can also help students learn to spell words correctly.
But how do you know what syllables to teach when???
A scope and sequence can be a helpful tool for teachers! A scope and sequence gives us a list of skills that students should develop in order to move toward achievement of an end goal.
So for example, if being a successful reader is my end goal, I have to master phonemic awareness. Phonemic Awareness is broken down into sub skills that I must master in order to master Phonemic Awareness. For example, I must learn to segment, blend, and manipulate phonemes. As I am mastering Phonemic Awareness, I am going to begin to be introduced to phonics skills that I am going to be expected to master as well.
Scope and sequences can help us to tailor our instruction to meet our students’ developmental needs.
You can grab my scope and sequences for reading HERE - from Phonemic Awareness skills to Vocabulary, grab developmentally appropriate and grade-level aligned scope and sequences HERE!
It also helps us to identify the lagging skill areas that we can target with some instructional intervention.
Let’s think about it!
At the start of each year, at the end of each term, and sometimes every so weeks, we assess our students’ skills. These assessments provide us with knowledge of our students’ abilities towards an end goal, or learning standard. And being the amazingly awesome teachers that we are, we analyze those assessments.
Now, here is where a scope and sequence comes into play and becomes a useful tool for us teachers!
When we are analyzing our students’ assessments, we can compare their skill attainment to a developmentally appropriate scope and sequence. This allows us to see our students’ “gaps” or lagging skill areas that we can target with our instruction.
Let’s go back to our Phonemic Awareness example for a moment.
Here are the six layers of Phonemic Awareness skills, beginning with the simplest and ending in the most complex skill:
If Zoe’s Phonemic Awareness assessment demonstrates mastery of Phoneme Isolation, Segmentation, Addition, and Deletion, but a weakness in Blending and Substitution, my intervention instruction will target Blending to improve both the Blending and Substitution competencies.
I use an intentional 3 step approach to designing reading instruction for students with Learning Disabilities that you can learn more about HERE!
So in what order do I teach syllable types?
This is what I would suggest for a scope and sequence for teaching syllable types:
This is what I would suggest for a scope and sequence -aligned with grade levels - for teaching syllable types:
Closed and Open Syllables (K/1)*
Vowel Teams (2)
Consonant -le (3)
By the end of Third Grade, it is developmentally appropriate to expect that all syllable types should have been introduced, practiced, and mastered.
*When I teach Closed and Open Syllables, I teach the term Closed Syllable first. I use the language of “Closed Syllable” when teaching CVC words. Then, I introduce Open Syllables by comparing them to Closed Syllables.
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Happy and healthy teaching!
Moats. L.C.& Tolman, C. A. (2019). LETRS (3rd edition). Voyager Sopris Learning.
Really Great Reading: https://www.reallygreatreading.com/six-layers-phonemic-awareness