Phonological Awareness and Phonics Overview
A balanced reading program includes direct and explicit instructional strategies for teaching phonological awareness and phonics. Reading A-Z provides instructional resources for teaching the sounds and symbols of language and their relationships to one another using:
- 30 phonological awareness lessons
- 68 phonics lessons
Phonological Awareness Lessons
In effective phonological awareness instruction, children are taught to notice, differentiate, think about, and manipulate sounds — from sounds of words to sounds of individual phonemes. Reading A-Z’s phonological awareness lessons are organized from the simplest skills to the most difficult. Each lesson includes picture cards, a game, a workmat, and a supplemental Read-Aloud book for extra practice.
Phonological Awareness Assessments
Monitor progress on awareness of words, rhymes, onset and rime, syllables, and phonemes using our phonological awareness assessments.
Sounds and their corresponding symbols are taught in a series of phonics lessons using various strategies and aided by flashcards and worksheets. Students are given an opportunity to practice what they have been taught in a series of decodable books that are aligned to lessons that:
- are systematic
- are direct, with explicit instructions
- provide word manipulation practice
- provide blending and segmenting practice
Each of the 68 lessons spells out activities for each instructional session. The lessons are organized according to the following sequence:
- Consonant, Short Vowels, and Word Families – 35 lessons
- Blends – 6 lessons
- Long Vowels – VCe Pattern – 4 lessons
- Consonant Digraphs – 6 lessons
- Open Vowels – 1 lesson
- Vowel Digraphs – 5 lessons
- Other Vowel Patterns – 1 lesson
- Variant Vowels – 4 lessons
- Diphthongs – 2 lessons
- R-controlled Vowels – 4 lessons
Each lesson begins with tips for introducing and teaching the sound. The symbol is introduced and connected to the sound using various teaching techniques. Students are given an opportunity to write the symbol and use it in spelling. When appropriate, high-frequency words and word families are taught.
- Phonemic awareness
- Sound/symbol relationships
The use of a variety of flashcards are incorporated into the lessons, such as:
- Picture cards for phonemic awareness
- Letter cards for word building and blending/segmenting activities
- Word family (phonogram) cards
- Decodable word cards
- High-frequency word cards
Suggested strategies for using the cards are written into each lesson.
Phonics Assessment Forms
There are two types of phonics assessments offered. The first type assesses a child’s ability to associate a sound with a given symbol, and the second type assesses a child’s ability to decode nonsense words. The nonsense word assessments progress from decoding common sounds to less common sounds. For example, the first assessments cover decoding simple CVC words. The later assessments cover blends, long vowels, digraphs, and diphthongs.
Phonogram Flashcards are available for use in teaching word building. Six flashcards accompany each of the five short vowel lessons.
Students need practice decoding the sound/symbol relationships they have been taught. TheDecodable Books provide an opportunity for students to read continuous text in a story and book format while confronting words that have the phonics elements they have been taught. The decodable books also expose children to high-frequency words.
Read-Aloud Books each target a specific sound. These books are an excellent accompaniment to any phonics lesson that corresponds to a particular book’s target sound. The books are also a good way to build critical phonemic awareness skills.
Sound/Symbol Books present some of the sound and symbol relationships introduced in the Reading A-Z phonics lessons. These books target:
- Initial consonants
- Long and short vowels
- Consonant blends and digraphs
- Vowel digraphs and diphthongs
Sound/Symbol Books can also be used as stand-alone reinforcements of important sound/symbol relationships that lead to successful decoding. Students can use the last page in the book to draw an object and then label the object by using a word containing the featured sound/symbol relationship. And, as with all Reading A-Z books, each student can have her or his own copy to take home and read.