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You can use this Phonics Primer developed by The National Right to Read Foundation to begin teaching a child or adult to read today. This primer lists the 44 sounds in the English language and then gives steps for teaching those 44 sounds and their most common spelling patterns. In addition to learning sounds and spellings, each day the student must read lists of phonetically related words and spell these words from dictation. Phonics instruction must be reinforced by having the student read decodable text.
The 44 Sounds in the English Language
5 Short-Vowel Sounds short /ă/ in apple short /ĕ/ in elephant short /ĭ/ in igloo short /ŏ/ in octopus short /ǔ/ in umbrella 18 Consonant Sounds /b/ in bat /k/ in cat and kite /d/ in dog /f/ in fan /g/ in goat /h/ in hat /j/ in jam /l/ in lip /m/ in map /n/ in nest /p/ in pig /r/ in rat /s/ in sun /t/ in top /v/ in van /w/ in wig /y/ in yell /z/ in zip 6 Long-Vowel Sounds long /ā/ in cake long /ē/ in feet long /ī/ in pie long /ō/ in boat long /ū/ (yoo) in mule long /ōō/ in flew 3 r-Controlled Vowel Sounds /ur/ in fern, bird, and hurt /ar/ in park /or/ in fork Diphthongs and Other Special Sounds /oi/ in oil and boy /ow/ in owl and ouch short /ŏŏ/ in cook and pull /aw/ in jaw and haul /zh/ in television * (wh is pronounced /w/ in some areas) 7 Digraphs /ch/ in chin /sh/ in ship unvoiced /th/ in thin voiced /th/ in this /hw/ in whip * /ng/ in sing /nk/ in sink
Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation, www.nrrf.org
pearsonlearning. For example. Consider the Individual Set of 70 Phonogram Cards (item #IPC.com/singspell/index. 2 pencils with erasers * Note: Make sure your phonics flashcards give the proper sound or sounds for each letter or letter combination – many widely available flashcards are incorrect or incomplete.spalding. It’s helpful to also purchase the Spalding Phonogram Sounds CD (item #CD. $10) from Spalding Education International.00) to learn how to pronounce each sound correctly. Read. & Write program. writing supplies: index cards.nrrf. Gather the materials listed below and store them together in a box. $5. Also.org.org page 2 . These books (called 2nd Edition 1st Grade Storybooks) can be purchased individually or as part of the Level 1 program by visiting the publisher Pearson Learning at http://www. not /z/ as in xylophone or /eks/ as in x-ray. not /ī/ as in ice cream. the short-vowel sound of i is /ĭ/ as in igloo. available at www. If your phonics program does not contain 100% decodable stories. Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. black wide-tip permanent marker. the common sound of x is /ks/ as in fox.Steps for Teaching Phonics Step 1. consider the 17-book set of readers from the Sing. beginner’s wide-ruled writing tablet.cfm . Purchase writing supplies at any office supply store. Spell. index card file. www. Materials for Teaching Phonics What You Need systematic phonics program * phonics flashcards with the letter or letter combination (such as ou) on front and clue word (such as out) on back decodable stories (preferably 100% decodable) Suggestion Consider a program from Phonics Products for Home or Phonics Products for School.
nrrf. 5 days a week with your student. Keep drilling until all sounds are memorized. Drill until memorized. Frequency and consistency are more important than the length of time spent on each lesson. use the flashcards to drill the short-vowel sounds. Add several consonant sounds each day until you are drilling all short-vowel sounds and consonant sounds with your student daily. Short-Vowel Sounds short /ă/ in apple short /ĕ/ in elephant short /ĭ/ in igloo short /ŏ/ in octopus short /ŭ/ in umbrella Consonant Sounds /b/ in bat /k/ in cat /d/ in dog /f/ in fan /g/ in goat /h/ in hat /j/ in jam /k/ in kite /l/ in lip /m/ in map /n/ in nest /p/ in pig /kw/ in queen /r/ in rat /s/ in sun /t/ in top /v/ in van /w/ in wig /ks/ in fox /y/ in yell /z/ in zip Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. Teach the 5 short-vowel sounds and consonant sounds. During the first week. Do not rush this step. which usually takes 2-4 weeks. Tip: Work on phonics for at least 15 minutes a day.Step 2.org page 3 . www.
bo. then dictate these same words to him. Golden Rule of Phonics: Never allow your student to skip. or substitute words. Three-Letter Blends fa + t = fat de + n = den bo + x = box hi + d = hid ju + g = jug ki + t = kit ma + d = mad ye + s = yes no + t = not pu + n = pun ro + d = rod se + t = set tu + g = tug wi + n = win la + p = lap Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. if necessary). This not only helps him remember the phonics lesson just learned. Accuracy is more important than speed. bi. but it greatly improves spelling. guess.Step 3. Two-Letter Blends b + a = ba b + e = be b + i = bi b + o = bo b + u = bu s + a = sa s + e = se s + i = si s + o = so s + u = su j + a = ja j + e = je j + i = ji j + o = jo j + u = ju Step 4. that is. After your student knows the short-vowel sounds and consonant sounds. After your student can read two-letter blends. (Show him how to form each letter and correct him gently. words. Drill until blending is automatic. have your student read a set of short-vowel words. next teach him how to orally blend two letters (b-a. progress to three-letter blends. bu. www. Drill until blending is automatic. Practice three-letter blends.org page 4 .nrrf. Practice two-letter blends. be. Each day. ba) and read two-letter blends such as: ba.
Twin-Consonant Endings Two-Consonant Blends Two-Consonant Blends puff sell kiss fuzz lock Plurals: blab brag club crop drag fled frog glum grip plug prim scat skip. Drill until blending is automatic.Step 5. plurals. fist swam trot twin fact raft bulb held elf sulk film help silt jump hand mint kept cats (sounds like /s/) beds (sounds like /z/) Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. mask sled smug snip spot.org page 5 . and two-consonant blends. www. Teach the twin-consonant endings. gasp stun.nrrf.
such. ng. sing. with (unvoiced /th/) this (voiced /th/) whip sang. Digraphs Three-Consonant Blends chin. sink. honk.org page 6 . song. wish thin. sunk scruff split strap thrill Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation.nrrf. th. Also teach threeconsonant blends. A digraph consists of two consonants that form a new sound when combined. www.Step 6. Teach the digraphs (ch. wh. sh. nk). sung sank. patch (silent t) ship.
go. she. and /sh/ A vowel by itself says its name: Introduce after student can read long-vowel words a. says.” Tip: What distinguishes this high-frequency word list from the typical “sight word” list? Many words in the list below cannot be completely sounded out. come.” When your student comes across a new “wacky” word (such as “sugar” in which the “s” is pronounced /sh/). some done. Some high-frequency words are phonetically regular (such as “or”). but are introduced out of sequence because of their importance. www. In contrast. what. does said. As your student masters each word. of. The Basic High-Frequency Words table lists the most important words. your. were.org page 7 . because they contain one or more letters that don’t follow the rules of phonics (such as “once” and “who”). he. we. /th/. yours they. give you. their. so “or” says /or/: or. there where. none two. to. Basic High-Frequency Words Introduce after student can read short-vowel words. who once. either because they contain one or more letters that don’t “follow the rules” or the rule is learned later. Write each word on an index card. off. the typical “sight word” list contains mostly phonetically regular words (such as “and” and “when”) that the student is forced to memorize simply because he has never been taught to sound them out. it’s time to add a few highfrequency words that are necessary to read most sentences. encouraging him to sound out as much of the word as possible (usually the vowel sound is the only irregular part). one. Introduce a few high-frequency words necessary to read most sentences. for was. why. me. have. put * also pronounced /thŭ/ Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. make up a new index card and file it under “Words To Learn. Drill your student on these words everyday. Other words are truly irregular. into. Introduce three or four new words a week. the* “o” at the end of these words says its name: no. file the card in the card file under “Words I Know. After your student can read three-letter and four-letter words easily. too do.Step 7. are doing. I “e” at the end of a short word says its name: be.nrrf.
hi. vein key. fly. the first vowel says its name and the “e” is silent. r-Controlled Vowel Sounds Common Spellings Less Common Spellings /ur/ /ar/ /or/ fern. feet. bunny bike. cookie. roar. worm. pizza rye. boot. soup. type soul. war Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. earth orange.org page 8 . dollar. forest door. though fruit. pie. tuna. blue. sea. go. Long-Vowel Sounds Common Spellings Less Common Spellings long /ā/ long /ē/ long /ī/ cake. feud long /ō/ long /ū/ & /ōō/ Step 9. through. toe. rain. www. more. Teach the long-vowel sounds and their spellings. night hope.nrrf. receive. Also teach the “Silent-e Rule”: When a one-syllable word ends in “e” and has the pattern vce (vowel-consonant-e). Note that there are five common spellings for each long-vowel sound. flew steak. hurt farm fork pure. baby Pete. boat. field.Step 8. Teach the r-controlled vowel sounds and their spellings. pay. pour. eight. bird. they. snow mule. me.
session. Sound Common Spellings /aw/ /awl/ /awk/ jaw. haul. Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation.nrrf. i. /awl/. /awk/ and their spellings. www. A diphthong consists of two vowels that form a new sound when combined. Christmas chef. cent. Sound Common Spellings /oi/ /ow/ short /ŏŏ/ /sh/ /zh/ oil. squash bald.org page 9 .Step 10. fudge. phonics chorus. cinder. gym phone. or y sounds like /s/. boy owl. /k/ spelled ch Rule: ch sounds like /k/ in words of Greek origin. pull vacation. Teach /aw/. Sound Common Spellings /s/ spelled c Rule: c followed by e. Teach the diphthongs /oi/ and /ow/ and their spellings. ouch cook. /sh/ spelled ch Rule: ch sounds like /sh/ in words of French origin. wall talk Step 12. age. facial vision Step 11. Teach these sounds and spelling patterns. cycle frigid. wash. face. /f/ spelled ph Rule: ph sounds like /f/ in words of Greek origin. i. or y usually sounds like /j/. dge Rule: g followed by e. Also teach other special sounds. ge. champagne /j/ spelled g.
Green Eggs and Ham. Seuss (Hop on Pop. comma = pause. exclamation point = speak with excitement. Eastman (Are You My Mother?. Step 15. and so on). Continue to give phonetically based spelling lists. and Cynthia Rylant (Henry and Mudge series. but don’t let him memorize the story (reciting a story from memory is not reading). As your student reads each book. Red Fish. Encourage him to read each story several times to gain fluency. add new wacky words to the Words To Learn file and review daily. D. if necessary. After 3 to 4 months of reading lists of words and sentences.org page 10 . carefully and accurately. Help him sound out difficult words. your student should be ready to read decodable stories. Continue teaching the lessons in the phonics program – don’t stop just because your student can read. Putter and Tabby series). Begin introducing “easy-to-read” books. After the student masters decodable stories. make sure to reinforce his phonics knowledge by giving phonetically based spelling lists each week at least through third grade. Revised: 1/07 Developed by Sandra Elam The National Right to Read Foundation. Mr.nrrf.) Step 14. Most children need 1 to 2 years of reinforcement before their phonics knowledge becomes permanent. A Fish Out of Water). The student should read all stories aloud. Ten Apples Up on Top. Even after your student has finished the phonics program. Poppleton series. www. Go!. Blue Fish.12 should be introduced within the first 4 months of phonics instruction. One Fish. question mark = raise the pitch of your voice on the last word to ask a question. Most products contain detailed instructions and practice reading selections. Consult a good phonics program such as one from Phonics Products from Home or Phonics Products for School for additional spelling patterns and rules. Important: All sounds and spellings in Steps 2 . Step 13. as needed.Note: This Phonics Primer does not contain all English spelling patterns. After 3 to 4 months of daily phonics instruction. begin introducing decodable stories. P. then asking him to repeat what you read with the same tone of voice. Explain the meaning of all new words. Model fluent reading by reading a sentence aloud with expression. let him move on to easy books such as those by Dr. Go Dog. Explain and demonstrate the meaning of basic punctuation (period = stop. Two Fish.