Phonics for Reading


 In the last blog we looked at the relationship between phonological awareness, phonics and pictures. Today we are going to move to the next step of removing the picture support. This step is often rushed and the children who need more time to process the connection between the picture, and its connection to the first sound of the picture and the naming of the letter that relates to that sound is lost. For these children explicit teaching is needed.
Our purpose in this process is to move the child to automatic recall. Automatic recall removes the workload on the working memory and allows more time to concentrate on other reading processes. It is like driving a car, if the driver is able to change the gears without thinking about it, in other words, it is an automatic response, he/she can concentrate on steering the car so that he doesn’t crash. It is the same in reading; if the child knows the letter sounds automatically he is able to concentrate on the meaning.
Moving to automatic recall
The transition from using picture support to letters only can be made easy for children by allowing them the time to move at their own pace. Normally, there will be letters and sounds that will be recalled earlier than others. These sounds are mostly consonants. Make it a daily routine to go over the letters and sounds, concentrating on the sounds that require attention. I use a letter chart with pictures for this activity. Some children learn better with extra time matching many pictures to the letter. Pictures in old readers or magazines are great if laminated for durability. The groups I teach, love actions that match the letters, they make their body into a letter shape and then say the sound. This activity works wonders. Painting the letter and drawing pictures of objects or names that begin with that letter, playing hopscotch and playing games with letter cards are all useful activities. Using only one problem letter in the games along with the known letters makes the games less stressful for the children.
Knowing letters and sounds is not enough
Once the letters and sounds are known the next step is to blend the sounds into words. The base step is phonological awareness, giving the sounds of a word without the letters and then blending the sounds. As an example, giving the individual sounds for C A T.  The child then blends these sounds to come up with the word, cat. Phonics is the mapping of sounds  onto letters. So using phonics to sound basic words for reading is the next step. As an example,the child has the word cat in front of him and we want the child to say the sounds of the letters and then put them together to say the word, cat. Some children find this step difficult, others find it relatively easy. With children who struggle with this step, work with the same letters until confidence improves. Start only with three letter words before moving on to longer words. I tend to “marry” spelling and reading and practice using the same letters and sounds in each of these areas.
If you would like a list of words to practice, use the comment box and I will provide this for you. Or, if there is any other support needed please let me know below. Letter Box is here to improve your child’s results.

Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas. Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results.Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above. Her programs are tried and proven and bring clarity out of chaos.Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto