Teaching Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

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					Teaching Phonics and Phonemic

     Steven A. Stahl

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
     Center for the Improvement of Early
     Reading Achievement
What do we want readers to
be able to do?
• Enjoy and Appreciate Reading
  Literature and Non-fiction
• Comprehend and Learn from Text
• Recognize Words Automatically
These 3 goals are related...

• If children do not recognize words
  automatically, they cannot
  comprehend text effectively.
• If children do not comprehend text
  effectively, they will not want to
Children need to be able to decode in order
to recognize words automatically.

                        • Reading instruction
                          is like an arch. If
                          any stone is
                          missing, the arch
                          will fall.
                        • For many children,
                          phonics instruction
                          is needed for them
                          to be effective
National Reading Panel:
Phonics Findings
• Overall, phonics        • Most (2/3) of the
  instruction had a         effect sizes involved
  significant effect on     measures of
  reading                   decoding or word
  achievement.              recognition
                          • Effects were
                            significant, but
                            smaller, on measures
                            of comprehension
                            and oral reading
National Reading Panel:
Phonics Findings
• The effects of         • This suggests that
  different types of       there is no one right
  phonics programs         method of teaching
  (synthetic phonics,      phonics, but that
  programs which           many methods of
  emphasized               teaching children to
  phonograms,              decode are effective.
  miscellaneous) did
  not differ from each
National Reading Panel:
Phonics Findings
• Phonics             • Phonics
  instruction is        instruction meets
  more effective in     a developmental
  kindergarten and      need.
  first grade than
  in grades 2-6.
National Reading Panel:
Phonics Findings
• Phonics             • Phonics
  instruction can       instruction did not
  be effective for      significantly effect
  children with         the reading of
  reading               older children with
  problems, but it      reading problems,
  is most effective     who may not have
  in the early          needed this
  grades.               instruction.
National Reading Panel:
Phonics Findings
• Phonological       • Phonological
  awareness            awareness
  instruction is       instruction is
  effective in         especially
  kindergarten and     effective when
  first grade.         combined with
                       letter training and
                       as part of a total
                       literacy program
What the report does not say

• It does not support any particular
  phonics program.
• It does not talk about “decodable
• It does not support intensive
  phonics instruction.
• It does not talk about the content
  of a phonics program.
It does not talk about the role of
phonics in a total reading program.
• mercenary
• quotidian
• perspicacious

• minatory
How do we recognize these
•   By sight?
•   Rules?
•   Sounding out?
•   By chunks?
•   By analogies?
Why do we teach phonics?

• Phonics instruction leads to better
  achievement, at least when
  integrated into a total reading
• Children need a strategy to figure
  out unknown words
• Children need to recognize words
  quickly and automatically.
We do not teach phonics so
children can sound words out.
We teach phonics so children can
recognize words automatically.

       If they cannot recognize
       words, they also need a
Four Insights

• Awareness of Consonants -- the basic
  phonological insight
• Awareness of short vowels -- the
  alphabetic principle
• Awareness of long vowels -- the
  orthographic insight
• Awareness of the coding of syntactic
  markers -- the morphological insight
Four insights

• These insights are not all
  phonological, but often the
  phonological insights growth with
  experience with written language.
• In early growth in phonological
  awareness, alphabet knowledge
  can lead to phonological insights.
Development of Word
• Visual Cueing   • Child uses a visual
                    cue, such as the two
                    “eyes” in look or the
                    “tail” in monkey.

                  • Child uses salient
• Partial           letter, usually
  Alphabetic        beginning,
  Cueing            sometimes last.
Development of Word
• Full Alphabetic   • Child uses all letters,
                      including vowels, to
  Coding              “sound out” words

                    • Child recognizes
• Automaticity        words automatically,
                      using chunks or
Emergent Spelling

• What Students        • What Students
  Do Correctly           Use but Confuse
  – Write on page      – Drawing, scribbling,
  – Hold the writing     letter-like forms
    implement          – Directionality
  – Horizontal
    across the page
Early Letter-Name -
Alphabetic Spelling
• Represent most         •   S, SHP for ship
  salient sounds,        •   B, BD for bed
  especially beginning
  consonants             •   Y for when
• Most letters of the    •   L, LP for lump
  alphabet               •   U for you
• Directionality
                         •   FL for float
• Partial spelling of
  consonant blends
  and digraphs
Middle Letter-Name -
Alphabetic Spelling
• What Students            • BAD for bed
  Correctly Do             • SEP or SHP for
  – Most beginning and       ship
    ending consonants
  – Clear letter-sound
                           • FOT for float
    correspondences        • LOP for lump
  – Frequently occurring
    short vowel sounds
Middle Letter-Name -
Alphabetic Spelling
• What Students           • Lump spelled
  do Correctly              correctly
  – Regular short vowel
    patterns              • FLOT for float
  – Most consonant        • BAKR for baker
    blends and digraphs
  – Preconsonantal        • PLAS for place
                          • BRIT for bright
  – Some common long
    vowel words, name,
Early Within Word Spelling

• What Students            •   FLOTE for float
  do Correctly             •   PLAIS for place
  – Good accuracy on r-
    influenced single
                           •   BRIET for bright
    syllable short vowel   •   TABL for table
    words, fur, bird
  – Some infrequently
    used short vowels
    and frequently used
    long vowel words
Middle Within Word Spelling
• Slightly more than half   • SPOLE for spoil
  of long vowel words in
  single syllable words
                            • DRIEV for drive
• Consistently uses long
  vowel markers, SNAIK
  for snake.
• Substitutions in
  frequent, unstressed
  syllable patterns,
  TECHAUR for teacher
• ed and other common
  inflections, MARCHT,
Developing the
Phonological Insight
• This is the insight that spoken
  words can be thought of as
  collections of sounds.
• It is usually acquired first with
Good phonics instruction should
develop phonological awareness
• Phonological awareness instruction
  should stress children’s awareness of
  sounds in spoken words.
• Phonological awareness instruction
  usually includes both blending and
• Phonological awareness instruction
  works best when combined with
  decoding and spelling.
Phonological awareness refers to
awareness of all of these aspects
of spoken words.

       Phoneme awareness only
       refers to phonemes.
Some concepts…..

• Phoneme: smallest unit of
  speech,not always able to be
  pronounced in isolation
• Syllable: cluster around a vowel
• Onset: part of syllable before the
• Rime: rest of the syllable
Onsets and rimes

•   Stand
•   Rope
•   straw
•   and
How do we teach syllables
and Onsets and Rimes?
• Reading and memorizing rhymes
• Clapping out rhymes
• How many beats?
• Pointing out the rhymes
• Can you guess the word? (d-uck,
• Alliteration
Begin with children’s names

•   They are most personal.
•   Label cubbyholes.
•   Use name cards.
•   Children should learn their own
    names and the names of
    everyone else in the class.
Phonological Awareness
• Sound to word   • The Troll
  matching        • Which word begins
                    with the same sound
                    as _______?
                  • Which one does not

                  • Sound sorting
• Word to Word
To Market, To Market
               • To market, to
                 market to but a fat
               • Home again, home
                 again, jiggety jig.
               • To market, to
                 market to but a fat
               • Home again, home
                 again, jiggety jog.

         • Widdy-widdy-wurkey is
           the name of my turkey.
         • There-and-back-again is
           the name of my hen.
         • Wiggle-tail-loose is the
           name of my goose.
         • Widdy-widdy-wurkey is
           the name of my turkey.

         • Widdy-widdy-wurkey is
           the name of my turkey.
         • Quackery-quack is the
           name of my duck.
         • Grummelty-grig is the
           name of my pig.
         • Widdy-widdy-wurkey is
           the name of my turkey.
Phonological Awareness
works best with letters
• Letters add a concrete referent to the
  abstract phoneme
• Letters make phonemes easier to
• Alphabet Books
• Invented Spelling
• Adding letters to activities such as
  sound sorting
Phonological Awareness

• Play with sounds in words underlies
  children’s learning about letters and
• Part of preschool education as long as
  there have been nursery rhymes
• Important to include letters in activities,
  including alphabet books and invented
National Reading Panel:
Phonological Awareness Findings

• Phonological awareness instruction is
  effective in kindergarten and first grade.
• Phonological awareness instruction is
  especially effective when combined
  with letter training and as part of a total
  literacy program
Phonological Awareness
                   • Reciting or making
• Rhyming            rhymes
• Word-to-word     • Which word does not
  matching         – Man, move, pit, monkey
                   • What is the first sound in
• Initial sounds     fish?
• Segmentation     • Breaking a word into
                   – May use boxes
                   • What word is /f/ /i/ /sh/?
• Blending         • Say “make” without /m/?
• Deletion
Alphabet books

• L is for Lion
• At this stage, instruction should
  look a lot like whole language,
  with a great deal of exposure to
• It also should contain direct
  teaching of letters and
  phonological awareness
Developing the Alphabetic
• This is the insight that words
  contain vowels.
How do we teach phonics?
 Good Phonics Instruction Should Develop
        The Alphabetic Principle.


• Develop phonological awareness
• Tell (simply) what they are going to
  – Let the children know that they will learn to
    read words with the letter o, consonant,
    and silent e, which makes the vowel sound
    /O/. Introduce the o-e letter card and the
    sound /O/.

        ay   ai
 w      ay

 w      ai   t
       •   lay                •   train
       •   clay               •   rail
       •   play               •   sail
       •   say                •   paid
       •   pay

4Do you know the way to the park? I will wait for
you there.

      ay            ai

 pl        m   d         st

           n   gr
     Word Building
f      m
d      p       ay
w      r       ai
pl     br
• Good phonics instruction should
  not teach rules, need not use
  worksheets, should not dominate
  instruction, and does not have to
  be boring.
 Phonics Rules

bead   does
                • When two vowels go
                  walking… 45%
bone   love
                • Silent “e” rule…. 63%
cat     scold   • When a vowel is in the
                  middle of a one-syllable
                  word, it is short…. 60%
Developing the orthographic
• This is the insight that words are
  spelled one particular way.
• For example, there is no reason that
  “boat” is not spelled “bote”.
• Children have to learn particular
• This usually comes when learning long
  vowels which are more variable.

• Segmenting
    – “Making and Breaking” (Reading
    – “Making Words” (Pat Cunningham)
•   Word Sorts
•   Letter Strips
•   Word Building
•   Spelling
Making words

• Choose a group of letters
• Have children make increasingly
  complex words.
• Final word should be long word.
• Put each word in a pocket chart
• Do a word sort with chart words.
•   to        •   than
•   an        •   hang
•   ant
              •   hoot
•   too
•   cat/act   •   can’t
•   nag       •   toga
•   chat      •   chant
•   tang      •   achoo
              •   thong
•   it          •   mice
•   in          •   fact
•   cat / act   •   gift
•   man         •   main
•   ace         •   agent
•   tin         •   infant
•   fit         •   inmate
•   mint        •   imagine
•   cent        •   figment

• Direct teaching of the process of
  comparing new words to known words.
• First, teach set of “wall words”. The
  next slide has a list of 37 phonograms
  that can be used to generate about
  500 primary grade words.
• Then teach children the process of
  comparing new words to known words.
      Common phonograms
     -ack          -ain -ake   -ale   -all
     -ame          -an -ank    -ap    -ash
     -at           -ate -aw    -ay    -eat
     -ell          -est -ice   -ick   -ide
     -ight         -ill -in    -ine   -ing
     -ink          -ip -it     -ock   -oke
     -op           -ot -ore    -uck   -ug
     -ump          -unk
From Wylie and Durrell, 1970
Word Sorts
• Closed Sorts                • Open Sorts
   – Give students lists of   – Give students lists of
     words which have           words which have
     multiple common            multiple common
     features                   features
   – You provide the          – Students make up
     category                   categories
   – Students classify        – Must justify categories
     words into groups        – Works well in groups
wail          pay    pad          fail
ray           laid   lap          fad
stain         play   hand         said

        Say                 Sad
With   shin   thin   thick
that   wash   rash   ship
sham   pith   path   math
What do you teach?

• Kindergarten
  – Basic Phonological Awareness
  – Consonant sounds
  – Consonant blends (introduce)
  – Short vowels (introduce)
What do you teach?
• First grade
   – Short Vowels
   – Consonant Digraphs (sh, th, ch)
   – Consonant blends
   – Vowel digraphs (ai, oa, ay, etc.)
   – Silent e
   – Diphthongs
   – r- controlled vowels
   – Variant vowels
What do you teach?

• Second grade
  – Variant vowels
  – Inflectional endings
  – Begin prefixes and suffixes

• The most important practice we
  do involves applying phonics in
  connected text.
What kinds of text?
• Instructional
  level text
• Authentic text
• Predictable text
• Decodable text
Instructional level text

• Should be text that child can read
  with some support
• Needed to practice integration of
  all reading skills
• Needed to develop
  comprehension abilities
Authentic Text

• Needed to develop higher level
  concepts and vocabulary
• Needed to develop children’s
  interest in reading
• Should be relatively difficult
• Might be read aloud to class or
  read with support by students
Predictable Text

• Used to develop print concept and
• Used to develop fingerpointing and
  print-speech match.
• Might be read using Shared Reading
• Should be phased out by middle of first
Decodable Text
• Should contain a reasonable
  percentage of words with a taught
• Used for practice of decoding in
• The best texts tell a story that is
  comprehensible; the worst texts make
  little or no sense
• Should be practiced by children,
  possibly with repeated reading.
Practice words in texts
            • Fish Dish
       • “I wish, wish, wish
  • For a dish,” said the fish,
   • “With a yam, yam, yam,
     • And a little bit of jam,
      • And I want thin ham
• With that yam!” said the fish.
Instruction at Different Stages

• Visual Cueing   • Expose children to
                  • Teach the alphabet,
                    including alphabet
                  • Begin instruction in
Instruction at Different Stages

• Partial       • Use books with
  Alphabetic      increasingly less
  Coding          predictability
                • Fingerpointing
                • Begin letter-by-
                  letter phonics
• At this point some synthetic phonics
  instruction is probably useful. This
  involves direct letter sound instruction,
  practice in blending, and reading of
  decodable texts.
• A variety of texts should be used in
  addition, including instructional level
  texts and authentic texts (which may
  be read to children).
Instruction at Different Stages

• Full alphabetic   • Read a variety of
                      texts, including
                      decodable texts
                    • Letter-by-letter
                      decoding instruction
                    • Begin constructivist
                      instruction (Making
                      Words) and analogy
Instruction at Different Stages

• Automaticity   • Progress depends on
                   reading both a large
                   volume of texts and
                   more challenging
                 • Might use repeated
                   reading, especially
                   for struggling
Different Grades, Different
• Kindergarten   • Literature-based
                   instruction, designed
                   to provide children
                   with print concept
                 • Some instruction in
                   awareness, letter
                   names, and letter
Different Grades, Different
                • Direct instruction of
• First grade     phonics
                • Use of variety of texts
                  including instructional
                  level, authentic,
                  expository, and
                • Scaffolding during
                  reading, so that child
                  applies decoding to
                  connected text.
Different Grades, Different
• Second and third   • More reading of
                       longer and more
  grade                complex connected
                     • Continued
                       scaffolding, so that
                       children bring in
                       decoding knowledge
                       to connected text.
                     • Fluency-oriented
Good phonics instruction should
form a bridge between the phonics
instruction and reading text.
Scaffolding for Word
• Teachers coach to provide instruction in word
  recognition by asking questions such as,
  "What can you do to figure out that word?"
   – “Do you see a chunk (or phonogram) you
   – “Does it look like any other words you know?”
   – “Can you sound it out?”
   – “What does the first letter say? What does the next
     letter say? Etc. Now blend the sounds together.”
   – “Does that word look right for what is on the page?”
   – “Does it make sense in the story?”
Scaffolding for Word
• Other strategies to figure out words or ask them to
  explain what they did to figure out a word.
     –   “I like how you corrected that.”
     –   “Good checking!”
     –   “How did you know it couldn't be...?”
     –   “What did you do to figure that word out?”
• Word recognition coaching prompts are hints or
• that get children to engage in self-monitoring strategies
  as well as a variety of word recognition strategies to
  use with words not known instantly.

•   From Barbara Taylor, P. David Pearson, et al. (1999)
Good Phonics Instruction is a
part of reading instruction.

      It is an important part, but
      just a part.

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