The “P-Word”: The Role of Phonics in Today’s Reading Wars

The “P-Word”: The Role of Phonics in Today’s Reading Wars

It’s 2022, and the so-called “reading war” between proponents of phonics and advocates of the whole-language approach rages on. Despite phonics being one of the best-evidenced elements of the science of reading, research on phonics in early literacy has sparked a tide of backlash in recent months. This week, we take the pulse on the current status of the reading wars, gathering insights from both professional educators and researchers.

reading education

Phonics vs. Whole Language


The wider public debate about reading education tends to adopt an “either/or” stance between phonics or some other approach; yet researchers argue that in most cases, a mixture of different approaches - still with a strong emphasis on phonics - is ideal for reading education. In January, a research paper from the UCL Institute of Education (IoE) attempted to provide nuance to the reading wars: while phonics remains an essential component of early reading, the researchers argue that there are many other factors that shape literacy. They questioned the prominence of systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) in England, a widespread early reading program in the UK that uses highly regimented screening tools to teach phonics. Ultimately, the researchers assert that in 2022, “nobody is seriously advocating for whole language alone,” underwriting the need for a more nuanced approach to early reading.


While teachers largely believe in the power of phonics, they’re less likely to advocate for the strict and regimented SSP approach. Says one teacher: "I think, broadly, all teachers understand that SSP is a way into early reading and has an important role to play but, in my experience (and I know there is fierce opposition to this), the use of SSP as the foremost strategy is what they are opposed to," she says. The same teacher also noted the unpopularity of government-imposed “reading schemes” and phonics screenings in all elementary classrooms. Such uniformity in early reading curricula is especially problematic for students with learning disabilities and/or those who speak English as a second language: because these students tend to naturally rely more on context, SSP alone may not meet their needs.

Role of Phonics

Says Rastle, one of the contributors to a foundational 2018 research paper on the reading wars: the best way to support all early readers is to “move the conversation on.” This conversation is continually getting pulled back to phonics, which we already recognize as an essential part of literacy based on the science of reading. We also recognize that reading is a make-or-break skill that influences other subjects and important life milestones. Instead, Rastle encourages educators to focus on the hard stuff: reading comprehension, fluency, and encouraging kids to explore and enjoy independent reading.


How do we move the conversation forward?


  1. Recognize the nuance of the reading war, and reframe it as an ongoing conversation between the people most passionate about teaching reading.
  2. Avoid more prescriptive policies for teaching reading that reduce teacher autonomy, such as the strict phonics screening check in the UK.
  3. Enhance teachers’ understanding of science behind early literacy curricula with more training on the science of reading


As reading teachers, it’s essential to focus on the common ground, remembering that people invested in this conversation largely have students’ best interests in mind. Phonics is just the beginning of a student’s lifelong commitment to reading, discovering, and critically engaging with the world around them.

The Role of Phonics in Today’s Reading Wars


  • Although the effectiveness of phonics is largely supported by the science of reading, educational leaders continue to debate how, and to what extent, phonics should be used in early literacy classrooms.
  • The so-called “reading wars” tend to shift focus away from the most important components of lifelong literacy: reading comprehension, fluency, reading for pleasure, and providing adequate support for English Language Learners and students with learning disabilities.
  • To establish common ground, researchers call upon educators and legislators to recognize the nuance of this ongoing debate, avoid prescriptive literacy curricula, and prioritize teacher training on the science of reading.

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National Library Week 2022: A Gentle Reminder to Visit Your Local Library

National Library Week 2022: A Gentle Reminder to Visit Your Local Library

When was the last time you visited your local library? These community gems are crucial for families and educators, particularly when schools lack the resources to provide a broader range of reading material and culturally responsive books. From April 3-9, 2022, schools and communities across the U.S. recognized National Library Week: a weeklong celebration of the educational and social role of libraries. This week, we’re outlining 4 ways you can celebrate your local library all year long.

1. Visit your local library!
All too often, we forget that the library is just around the corner. As part of National LIbrary Week, local libraries across the U.S. marketed themselves as free resources for connecting with new technology, media, community programs, and classes: all of this, in addition to free books! Well-stocked school and public libraries - and qualified librarians - are essential to dispersing more information about the science of reading, while giving students and families safe spaces to connect with their communities and cultivate a love for reading.

national library

2. #UniteAgainstBookBans
At the beginning of National Library Week 2022, the State of America’s Libraries Report highlighted the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2021. In response to the report, the (ALA) initiated a national campaign to Unite Against Book Bans, noting that there were 729 attempted book bans in 2021. The ALA believes that book bans harm communities by preventing students from accessing critical information about themselves and the world around them. If you’re a concerned parent, teacher, or simply an avid reader, you can sign up to join the campaign against book bans - and, in turn, the campaign for widespread access to socially impactful and relevant literature.

3. Promote and follow your local library on social media.
As more states shift toward reading curricula and textbooks rooted in the science of reading, libraries play an essential role in sharing science-based reading strategies with more families and teachers. Follow your local library on social media so you don’t miss out on any of their diverse offerings and trainings for community members and educators. To stay up to date, consider following the ALA on Twitter @ALALibrary, Facebook @AmericanLibraryAssociation, and on Instagram @americanlibraryassociation.

Choosing book in a library

4. Invest in public and school libraries.

Many reading teachers recognize the immediate need to better fund both school and public libraries, particularly as communities reallocate educational funds in response to COVID-19. Nonprofits such as EveryLibrary are working to fill the gap between state funding and the immediate literary needs of reading students and teachers. In addition to signing relevant petitions and donating to the ALA, you can support healthy libraries by urging your elected officials to #FundLibraries for Fiscal Year 2023.


Our libraries need our support to continue transforming lives and strengthening our communities. At Reading Teacher, we view National Library Week as a yearlong celebration: one that recognizes our collective effort to share the science and social impact of reading with more teachers, families, and students.

reading books in library


  • The ALA recently celebrated National Library Week, an annual recognition of the work of libraries, librarians, and library workers.
  • Based on ALA suggestions, we propose 4 key ways to better support libraries:
    • Visit more frequently!
    • Unite against book bans
    • Engage with your library on social media
    • Advocate for better funding of public and school libraries

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Spring into Reading: The 3 Key Elements of Reading Comprehension

Spring into Reading: The 3 Key Elements of Reading Comprehension

As schools across the U.S. transition into spring break, it’s a reflective time for both teachers and parents of early readers. From New Hampshire to North Carolina, several states are proposing curriculum changes and teacher training to support the youngest generation of readers. While school districts continue to invest in gradual - but necessary - systemic change, we’re taking time to reflect on the three fundamentals of reading comprehension, outlined by academic officer Dr. Gene Kerns.

elements of reading comprehension
  1. Decoding

If you’re an elementary teacher, it’s highly likely that you’ve encountered - and even used - the Meaning, Structure, Visual (MSV) approach, also known as the three-cueing system. MSV encourages students to draw meaning from context or pictures, syntax, and visual information, such as images on the page or parts of words. While many teacher training programs champion the effectiveness of MSV, the practice distracts students from actually decoding the words in front of them. After a student has learned to decode, they’ll be able to recognize more words by sight and associate them with sound and meaning: a phenomenon known as orthographic mapping. To improve students’ decoding abilities, it is essential for states to invest in teacher education that emphasizes the importance of explicit and systematic phonics instruction. Recent pushes in Oregon, North Carolina, and New Hampshire reflect a growing awareness of the need for upfront investment in teacher training to support the essential skill of decoding.

skill of decoding
  1. Vocabulary:

Vocabulary is a key marker of reading fluency, which is supported by exposure to as many words as frequently as possible. Using and hearing these words in conversation helps students build their orthographic maps and recognize the sounds of certain words - sometimes even before they’re taught how to read them. In addition to engaging in wide-ranging conversations, students can enhance their vocabulary through wide and varied reading. Keep in mind: teachers can only directly teach students an estimated 400 words per year, so it’s crucial for students to acquire the decoding skills that will empower them to read for pleasure - and, in turn, develop vibrant vocabularies.


  1. Knowledge:

Instead of an “achievement gap,” Kerns encourages us to reframe this common term as a knowledge gap. Educators and researchers recognize the correlation between reading ability and socioeconomic status: affluent students often have more opportunities to travel and/or access to a wider range of subjects and vocabulary. With this understanding, educators can honor the relationship between knowledge and literacy by introducing students to a broad range of content from an early age. By encouraging students to read and think about an array of complex social issues, high-quality Social Studies instruction is just as - or perhaps even more important - than English Language Arts.


The quest for knowledge continues long after 3rd grade: a make-or-break year when students are declared at, above, or below grade level reading benchmarks. Data suggest that less time is invested in reading proficiency in older grades: in the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress report, only 37% of high school seniors were proficient or advanced in reading. Measures for fourth graders were similar, with 35% of students performing below the basic reading level. While this report only provides a snapshot of a national reading problem, it suggests that students make minimal reading progress after the third grade. To combat this trend, middle, and high school teachers can promote class conversations and assign readings that continually sharpen older students’ decoding skills and expand both their vocabulary and knowledge.

gaining knowledge


  • Reading comprehension can be broken down into three key elements: decoding, vocabulary, and knowledge.
  • Teachers can improve students’ reading comprehension by emphasizing decoding over MSV, exposing students to a broad range of literature and subjects, and prioritizing reading skills even after the foundational K-3 years.
  • As schools make more gradual changes to teacher training and curricula grounded in the science of reading, teachers can take action now by focusing on these three dimensions of reading comprehension.

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Following the Money: How Much Does the Science of Reading Cost?

Following the Money: How Much Does the Science of Reading Cost?

While research shows that the science of reading works in the classroom, the actual implementation of science-based reading curricula can be complicated - and costly. Today, we consider the financial barriers to incorporating the science of reading in the classroom, and how school districts can finance high-quality literacy curricula.

science of reading

After declaring phonics as the winner of the “reading war” against whole language education, early literacy advocate Melissa Martin recently wrote on the role of big money and its influence on K-12 education. As much as school districts may want to incorporate new textbooks and make sweeping curriculum changes based on the science of reading, astronomical costs often hold them back. In response, private foundations such as Bill Gates and the Broad Foundation have served as major funders of school districts; while examples abound, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg notably donated $100 million to Newark, NJ public schools in 2010. In an educational system that has not always prioritized the science of reading, these charitable donations are surprisingly common.


Although many schools are eager to introduce the science of reading in early literacy classrooms, even basic actions such as changing textbooks can be incredibly costly. Combine expensive curriculum changes with unpaid teacher training, and elementary classrooms are much more likely to uphold the classic - but, ultimately, ineffective - balanced literacy approach to reading instruction. Predictably, many of our readers ask: what are some lost-cost measures that educators and teachers can take to support the science of reading in schools that have been slow to adopt relevant literacy curricula? As advocates of science-based, structured literacy education, there are tangible steps we can take.


1. Speak out in support of phonics whenever possible.

Phonics is not the only ingredient in a science-based, structured literacy curriculum, but it’s an essential element that draws from the science of how we learn to read: not simply through exposure to words, but by making explicit connections between letters and sounds.


2. Request paid teacher training.

Many teacher training programs still neglect the science of reading, resulting in K-3 teachers who are ill-prepared to teach phonics, decoding, and other tenets of structured literacy. In response, some districts are mandating extra training on the science of reading for K-3 teachers. The currently unpaid - and required - reading teacher training in Texas has prompted backlash among teachers: while many educators believe in the value of the training, they also believe in the importance of appropriately compensating reading teachers for their time.

books in library

3. Support science of reading legislation.

In North Carolina, a recently introduced bill seeks to amend the state’s Read to Achieve program. While imperfect, this bill may serve as a model for legislation that supports both the science of reading and the wellbeing of teachers. In addition to funding teacher training in the science of reading, NC schools would select and compensate teachers for reading camps and provide teacher bonuses based on students’ reading proficiency outcomes.

As school districts mobilize to fund reading teacher training, it’s important to consider the low-cost but high-impact reading resources that can empower teachers, students, and familities to prioritize reading. Our program and resource library helps educators support students on their journey toward reading success: which, in many ways, is the all-consuming purpose of elementary academic education today.

science of readingfor elementary students


  • As school districts respond to the enduring impacts of COVID-19 on students’ reading scores, funding literacy curricula based on the science of reading can be difficult and costly.
  • To enhance their elementary literacy programming, educators and school districts are encouraged to take 3 lower-cost steps:
    • Verbalize the importance of phonics
    • Compensate teachers for additional training in the science of reading
    • Support statewide legislation and funding for early literacy

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Ask a Scientist: Are Reading Groups Effective?

Ask a Scientist: Are Reading Groups Effective?

In many elementary classrooms, small reading groups are a common strategy. Yet when we consider the research behind modern reading group practices, the evidence for their effectiveness varies greatly. Depending on a classroom’s individual and collective abilities, reading groups can be a highly impactful tool or a barrier to long-term reading success. Today, we explore the science behind reading groups and whether they are appropriate for today’s youngest cohort of readers.

Reading in groups

When creating their reading curricula, new teachers often ask: are reading groups effective? The answers are mixed, but it’s clear that traditional ability-based or “leveled” groups don’t always work. In a Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research study of nearly 12,000 students from kindergarten through 3rd grade, none of the students initially placed in the lowest kindergarten group ever caught up to the reading level of their classmates who started out in the highest reading group. The researchers also noted the negative impact of systemic and teacher bias on students’ progress in the lowest reading group. Low-income students and students of color were more likely to be assigned to lower reading groups, and researchers surmised that the enduring impacts of perceiving oneself as a “lower reader” may discourage students from becoming lifelong readers.


In turn, teachers pose the essential question: how do we restructure reading groups to be less biased and more effective? Reading researchers offer a few ideas. As an alternative to ability grouping, which concentrated and worsened reading gaps over time in a recent longitudinal study, the science of reading points suggests that focusing on specific reading skills can help boost group effectiveness. A 2017 University of Minnesota study found that small reading groups which targeted a specific skill for improvement were nearly twice as effective on average as small groups that focused on comprehensive or multiple skill areas. While some form of grouping may be inevitable in large and varied classrooms, utilizing small reading group activities to target specific - and surmountable - reading challenges can improve students’ confidence through the accomplishment of bite-sized literacy goals.

group reading

Based on current research, a classroom founded on the science of reading can still include reading groups, provided that they target explicit reading challenges rather than arbitrary reading levels based on a single assessment and/or teachers’ perceptions. Whether or not teachers opt for small reading groups, researchers who focus on the K-3 age group emphasize the importance of well-prescribed lessons for modeling and guiding students in reading practices; the content of these lessons should address phonological awareness, phonics, word recognition, and fluency. These science of reading pillars can be folded into small group work, albeit in a structured fashion: overloading students with information may defeat the targeted nature of reading groups and promote burnout among both students and teachers. In the educational landscape of 2022, thoughtfully-designed reading groups can improve focus in both reading and STEM classes, reinforce explicit phonics instruction and other lessons taught to the entire classroom, and empower students to meet - and exceed - specific literacy goals.

reading groups



  • Reading teachers commonly assign students to reading groups based on their abilities and other factors, which runs the risk of dividing students into groups based on systemic biases.
  • When based on bias rather than the science of reading, researchers find that small reading groups are not consistently effective and may even widen reading gaps.
  • However, when teachers design reading groups based on specific literacy goals rather than arbitrary ability levels, students are more likely to find motivation and success in the pursuit of a targeted reading milestone.
  • To reinforce explicit phonics instruction and enrich their students’ reading experience, teachers may be able to incorporate these goal-oriented reading groups into their teacher toolkit.

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5 Fun Literacy and Reading Games Your Child will Love

5 Fun Literacy and Reading Games Your Child will Love

Reading is one of the most important skills for your child to learn. It not only helps them to learn new vocabulary and develop a love for reading, it also improves their academic performance and language comprehension. Reading more is one of the best things you can do as a parent to help your child become a better reader. But how do you get your kids to do so too? This article provides five fun literacy games that are perfect for children who may be reluctant or difficult readers. These games will help your child to improve their reading skills and make reading enjoyable at the same time! Find out what they are now!

5 Fun Literacy Games

fun literacy gamesReading is a difficult task for many children. In fact, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, one-third of fourth-graders are not reading on grade level. As parents, it can be hard to come up with fun ways to encourage your child to read more and improve their reading skills. The good news? There are plenty of literacy games that engage kids and make reading enjoyable!


1) You can read a book together


You can start off this game by choosing a book you think your child will enjoy. Let them choose the first page and then alternate back and forth after that. Reading books aloud together is an excellent way to create a bond with your child through shared interests.


2) Read in another language


If your child is interested in learning how to speak another language, this game is perfect for them! You can learn how to say words in another language and work on improving pronunciation skills at the same time. This game can also help to extend their word knowledge and introduce new words into their everyday vocabulary.


3) Try speed reading


Speed reading is an excellent way to increase the reading pace while maintaining proper comprehension skills. It’s also been shown that children who read faster have better comprehension than those who don’t practice speed reading skills. That’s because when they read slowly, they have more time to consider each word individually, which leads them get distracted by other thoughts or ideas that don't relate directly to the text before going on.

Why Playing Literacy Games is Important for Kids

Educational games are a great way to make reading more fun. Think about it. What are some of your favorite games? Chances are, they’re the ones you played when you were younger. Now that you’re older, do you still play them? Games can be just as fun for adults as they are for children and that’s why they should be used as an educational tool.


Games have been shown to improve the reading ability in children who may be struggling with literacy skills and might be difficult readers. Playing these games allows your child to practice their reading skills in a fun environment where they don't even realize they're learning. Not only will your child improve their reading proficiency through playing these games, but they'll also build problem solving and critical thinking skills at the same time!

Game 1: What's in the Word?

It's time to play a new guessing game with your child! The goal of this game is to figure out what word is being displayed. The word will be an object, a person or an animal, and only the first letter of the word will be shown. For example, if the word was "dog," then all you would see is "d."


The first player needs to think of a letter from the alphabet that starts with that letter and say it out loud.

For example, if the first word were "cat," then you would say "c."


If your child guesses correctly, you get to choose another letter for them to guess. If they can't guess correctly after three tries then they lose.


The next player gets a chance to guess without giving another letter and so on, until someone wins!

Game 2: Play a literacy game?

In this literacy game, the child needs to fill in a sentence with words that he or she knows. The sentence could read: "I hope we can _____ soon." Fill in the blank with something your child likes to do, such as play soccer.


This is an excellent way for your child to learn new vocabulary words and have fun reading at the same time!

Game 3: Memory-Based Spelling Test

A memory game is a perfect way to help your child learn how to spell. This game can be played on paper or with a tablet, depending on your child’s age and level of comfort with technology. The goal of this game is to take a picture or a digital image of the word, cut it out and then have your child find it in a pile of mixed-up letters.


For a younger child (ages 4-7,) write each letter of the word on a separate piece of paper and then have your child sort through them until they find the right one. For an older child (ages 8-13,) use a tablet or allow him or her to hold up pieces of paper with the letters written on them.

Game 4: Make a list

The fourth game is called "Make a list".


A great way to improve reading skills is by asking your child to make a list of items. They can include anything they want to - their favorite colors, what they want for dinner, or their favorite video games.


Ask your child to write the first item on the list and then have them think of another item that fits with the first one. If you want to challenge your child even more, you can provide them with a word bank that will help them come up with great lists. For example, if this activity were about colors, you could give them the word bank "blue, green, pink" and ask them to make a list of colors that all fit together.

Game 5: Take turns reading

One of the best ways to improve your child’s reading skills is by allowing them to practice reading out loud. One way to do this is by taking turns reading a book together. Your child will be less likely to zone out when it’s their turn to read. In addition, they will learn how to better pronounce words and understand sentence structures. This is an easy activity that doesn’t take up too much time or need much preparation but can have a big impact on your child's literacy level.

Why Literacy Games benefit Reading

There are many benefits to playing literacy games with your child. From improving their reading comprehension to developing language skills, these games will make your child a better reader and develop their love of reading as well. This is one of the most important skills to teach our children because it impacts every aspect of their lives in a positive way.


Reading or sounding out words is an important step in the reading process for children. It’s also a crucial skill for adulthood, which is why mastering this early on can have such a significant impact on their future. With literacy games, children learn how to decode words and improve their vocabulary while having fun at the same time. Additionally, these games help develop other skills like coordination and problem-solving  too.


Literacy games also promote reading in general because they make reading more enjoyable and less intimidating for children who may be reluctant or difficult readers. As parents, you should be looking for ways in which you can improve your child’s literacy without them even realizing it! These literacy games are perfect because they’re easy to do and kids love them!

Reading Teacher:


Explore the plethora of reading videos, resources and tools Reading Tools offers. Reading Teacher is the award-winning, phonics -based reading program that is perfect for elementary students.


Reading Teacher cover all aspects of literacy instruction from phonics to phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension.


It takes less than a few minutes to start teaching how to read for free.

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3 Easiest Ways to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten Students

3 Easiest Ways to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten Students

ways to teach sight wordsThe ability to read is a life-changing skill. It opens up new worlds, new opportunities, and new relationships. Research has shown that children who have strong reading skills are more likely to succeed in school, to start their own business, and lead happier lives. Sight words are the most important tool to build vocabulary and to acquire reading fluency. They account for 75% of English language usage. They are also the words that we use most often. Learning the easy ways to teach sight words is essential to the teachers that helps the kids to master reading skills.


However, not all methods of teaching sight words are the same. So which one is best for you?


You might want to use a five-minute drill every day, or you may prefer to have your child learn them as part of a story. The choice is up to you!

3 Easiest Ways to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten Students

If you have a child in kindergarten who is just starting to learn sight words, then there are three easy ways to teach them the most important words.


One way is to dedicate five minutes of each day to you read five sight words to your child. This is a great way to maintain their interest and keep them practicing throughout the day. Another option could be to teach them as part of a story. For example, you could use Dr. Seuss’ books or any other picture books that contain rhyming sentences. This way they can learn the wording and spelling of a word at the same time. You may also want to take some time each day to read with your kids and point out new sight words as you go along. This will help them to remember what they've learned and keep their interest in reading high!

Teach them as part of a story

One way to teach sight words is by using them in a story. This helps kids learn the words naturally, because they are woven into the text and not just presented as flash cards. You might want to read your child’s favorite book and stop when you come across a word that needs to be taught.


For example, if I were reading The Cat in the Hat with my child, and we came across the word “hat”, I would stop reading the story for a second and ask my child what the word means. If they can’t answer, I would go back and tell them that it means something a person wears on their head because they don’t have hair like me.


Then I would point out where in the story we found this word so they can remember it easier next time.

Reviewing Sight Words and Introducing New Ones

Let’s start by reviewing sight words. One of the easiest ways to teach kindergarten students sight words is to read a list of them aloud and have them repeat after you.


An example would be:


I, love, my, do not, like, to, go, up

Practice Sight Words with Context Clues

One of the easiest ways to teach sight words is to give students context clues. Context clues are those bits of information that help you understand the meaning of a word without having to sound it out. It’s like filling in the missing pieces of a puzzle. If a word looks like “dirt,” you can guess that it means something in the ground (like soil).


Context clues are also helpful because they get your child thinking about how words work together. If you can use context clues to determine what a word means when they see it, then they can find meaning in sentences too!


In order to practice sight words with context clues, let your child know that the goal is to figure out what the word on the card stands for. They might say something like “I think this is an ____ because I see ___ near it.” Then have them fill in the blanks with their best guess as to what the word could stand for. Examples would be “I think this is an apple because I see apples near it,” or “I think this is a book because I see books near it.”


Sight words are a vital part of language development and literacy in general. When done successfully, they can help the children to read more fluently, improve their comprehension, and build a stronger vocabulary.


The best way to teach sight words to kindergarten students is to make the lesson a game. Three easy ways to do this include teaching them as part of a story, reviewing sight words and introducing new ones, and practicing sight words with context clues.

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Phonics Instruction: 5 Reasons Why It is Important for Your Child’s Development

Phonics Instruction: 5 Reasons Why It is Important for Your Child's Development

Your child's reading and writing skills will be significantly impacted by their ability to decode words. Phonics instruction is a good way to build these skills and provide your child with the foundation they need for later success in school.


The letters of the alphabet have their own sounds and combinations of sounds. These sounds are called phonemes. Phonics instruction focuses on different ways that speech sounds combine to make words.


With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should consider phonics instruction for your child:

The Importance of Phonics Instruction

Phonics Instruction by Reading TeachersAs your child moves into the early stages of reading, she will learn to decode words. The letters of the alphabet have their own sounds and combinations of sounds. These sounds are called phonemes. Phonics instruction focuses on the different ways that speech sounds combine to make words.


The letters of the alphabet have their own sounds and combinations of sounds. These sounds are called phonemes. Phonics instruction focuses on the different ways that speech sounds combine can mix together to form word


Phonics instruction can help your child build their decoding skills and provide them with the foundation needed for success in school and beyond!

What is phonics?

Phonics is the study of how the speech sounds that are written words create meaning.


Speech sounds combine to form words. For example, the "th" sound is created by releasing air from your mouth between your teeth. The word "three" starts with the "t" and is followed by an "h". Phonics instruction teaches children how to assign the correct letter combinations to individual sounds they hear when they read.

Why you should consider phonics instruction for your child

Phonics instruction is a good way to build up your child’s reading and writing skills.  It teaches children how to decode the words that are made up of sounds. This also helps them to be more aware of the different letters that are in a word. For example, "cat" is made up of three letters: c-a-t.


Children often learn the alphabet through these instructions. Your child will start with the letter A, then move on to B, then C and so on until they learn all 26 letters of the alphabet. By teaching your child the alphabet through phonics instruction, you will help them become more confident when reading new words or recognizing words they have seen before.


Phonics instruction provides your child with the foundation they need for later success in school. Even though there are other ways to teach reading and writing skills, they won't always provide the same level of success as this instruction does, because it focuses on building pronunciation skills from the ground up.

How to teach children with phonics instruction

Phonics instruction can be learned through a variety of methods. Some parents may take their children to a certified speech-language pathologist for therapy, where they will learn the skills necessary to decode words. Other parents may teach their children at home with books and workbooks.


Regardless of the method by which your child learns phonics instruction, it is important to practice reading and writing. Being able to read and write fluently is a great life skill that will allow them to express themselves effectively in both the digital world and the physical world.

When to start teaching phonics

There is no right or wrong time to start teaching phonics. You can do it as soon as your child is old enough to speak, or you can wait until they are a preschooler. The best time to introduce phonic instruction will depend on what type of learner your child is. For example, auditory learners may respond better if they are introduced to phonics instruction early on, and visual learners may need more time before they benefit from instructional lessons.

Teach how words are created from letters

Phonics instruction teaches children how they can use the alphabet to make words. It is a word recognition process that teaches kids how letters combine to create meaning. This is important as it helps children to learn how to decode words and recognize reading patterns, which are both necessary for reading comprehension.

Recognize combinations of sounds in words

Phonics instruction teaches children to recognize combinations of sounds in words. For example, the word “cat” has three sounds: "c”, "a" & “t”. These sounds combine to make a single word, with a single meaning. This instruction helps children learn how letters are combined to form words, which will help them during reading and writing activities.

Teach the sounds of the letters

Phonics instruction teaches the sounds of letters and how they can change in different combinations. A phonics lesson might teach a child where to place her tongue when she says the letter “t” or the letter “k.”


This knowledge will help your child learn to read words that contain these letters. They will also be able to sound out words with these letters, which will help them develop comprehension skills.


Our world has become a turned digital and with that, we have lost the ability to communicate with one another using our own language. Children learn to read by using a deliberate method of teaching and it's called phonics instruction. This is crucial for their development. Because they are learning to read with such a strong foundation, they will be able to understand more quickly and retain more information.


This is something you should consider for your child. It's important for them to be able to communicate in their own language and to be aware of the sounds that letters make. You have many options when it comes to teaching phonics, but you should start as early as possible.

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Developing a Reading Program for First-Grade Students

Developing a Reading Program for First-Grade Students

reading programReading can be one of the most rewarding, life-changing events for kids as they grow up. Reading is also a key part of a child’s education, and it is something that students will spend hours doing each day. Teaching kids to read can be a very daunting task, and many schools struggle to find the time and resources to provide all the support that their kids need. Implementing a good reading program in your school can help to give these children all the tools they need to succeed.


A reading program is not only important for your first-grade students but also for their parents as well. It allows them to become more invested in their child's education, as well as having some input in what they are learning. The best programs are those that are tailored specifically to your school's needs. With this information, you can make sure you’re giving your students everything they need in order to become lifelong readers.

"Why a reading program is important"

A reading program may seem like a lengthy and complicated process, but it is not as difficult as you might think. The most important thing to consider while developing your reading program is that it must be adapted to your school's requirements. A good reading program will involve the parents and teachers in the process, so they can feel more engaged with their child's education. When developing your reading program, make sure you have a plan in place for all of the first-grade students. Otherwise, you may overlook some children who need help, or not provide enough help for those who need more support in their learning.


The benefits of implementing a reading program are clear: your students will have the tools they need to succeed in their education and more. In addition, it will provide parents with the opportunity to become more involved in their child's education and help them develop into lifelong readers. With these advantages in mind, it’s safe to say that investing time in a reading program is well worth it!

"How to develop a good reading program for first-grade students"

The program should have a variety of different methods for teaching kids how to read, from phonics to word recognition strategies. It should be customized according to the school’s specific needs and offer a comprehensive plan for reading instruction. It should include both instructions and assessments so that teachers know if the student has successfully learned how to read and also  realize where the student is struggling.


Developing a reading program can be difficult, but it is worth it! By doing this, you will be providing your first-grade students with all the tools they need to succeed in school and long after graduation.

"The importance of parent involvement in the reading process"

Parent involvement in the reading process is crucial to the development of a child's reading skills. Research shows that children who have parents read with them are more likely to enjoy reading and be better readers. Children whose parents read with them also tend to gain higher self-esteem, do better in school, and have fewer behavioral problems. It's important for parents to make time for their children and make sure they are actively engaged in the reading process.


In order to help your students to develop their reading skills, it is important to include both verbal and nonverbal interactions in your programs. Giving pupils a variety of activities will allow them to learn new skills while still having fun.


Programs like these are very beneficial students and their families as well. It lets the family to become more involved in the child's education and also allows them to have some say in what the kids are learning too. In order to customize this program specifically to your needs, you should take stock of what you want out of it, so you can make sure you're giving your first-grade students everything they need in order to become lifelong readers.

"The Importance of Teacher Engagement in the Reading Process"

One important thing to consider when developing a reading program for your first-grade students is the level of teacher engagement in the reading process. Reading is an activity that should be done with a teacher, not alone. Teachers can help students become more confident and learn how to read in an interactive way, which will result in a better understanding of what they are studying. Teachers should also accommodate tailor their instructions to meet the needs of any individual student. Even if you have all the resources in place, it's still up to the teachers to make sure that they are engaging and supportive so that children have successful reading experiences.

"What is the best way to teach first-graders new words?"

Since you’re teaching first-graders, it’s important to teach them new words. The best way to do this is through reading. You must read to them every day and, when they come across a word they don’t know, stop and explain the word for them. You can also set up flash cards with words that the child will come across in their reading book. This way, when they read the word again later, they will already have an understanding of what it means because they’ve seen the definition before.

"How do I know if my child is struggling with reading?"

Another important thing to remember is that you will never know if your child is struggling with reading unless you ask. If you see that your kid has really low marks on their reading assignments, always talk to them about it and find out what happened. It may be because they are having some difficulty with a certain word or reading for meaning, as opposed to decoding words.


Reading is not only a key part of education but also a life-altering event. That's why it's so important to help encourage early readers, even if it just means sitting down and reading a book together.


This can be one of the most rewarding aspects of parenting, and many parents forget how important this is for their kids. The best way to help your child learn how to read is to read together every night. This will let them see how you take interest in what they are doing and it will make them want to read more themselves.


First-grade students are beginning to learn how to read, so it's important to develop a reading program that will help them with it. The program should include parent involvement, teacher engagement, and activities that are appropriate for the age group. It should also include the teaching of new words.

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Why Decodable Reading Programs are the Best for 1stGrade Students

Why Decodable Reading Programs are the Best for 1st Grade Students

If you are a 1stgrade teacher or parent, you might already know that decoding, or the ability to read printed words, is critical for the students, who are still working on their phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge. Decodable reading programs make it easier for the kids to read and enjoy books. Decodable reading programs are reading programs that are designed to help 1stgraders decode words that are different from other words.


If you’re looking for an effective way to help your child read, try a decodable reading program. If your child is struggling with reading and you’re looking for a program that’s right for your family, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about decodable reading programs.

Decodable Reading Programs for 1stGraders

Decoding programs help 1stgraders read by breaking words into syllables, phonemes, or letters. These programs aid the students in learning to recognize and sound out words. The following are some of the types of decodable reading programs for 1stgraders.

What is a decodable reading program?

Decodable reading programs use a visual approach to teach children how to make sense of words. The decodable reading programs are essentially visual dictionaries.


Decodable reading programs have a “level” that corresponds to a set of words. For example, a level 1 decodable reader might have words such as “cat,” “goose,” “horse,” “pig,” “truck,” and “tickle.” These words would be very similar to other words at this level. Level 2 words might include “cow,” “dog,” “elephant,” “goat,” “mouse,” “snake,” and “soap.” Words at this level are often big, vivid, and easy to sound out.

Decoding Books is Fun!

Reading to children is part of good parenting. Reading to children improves their literacy skills, helps them to become better readers, and cultivates a love of reading. Many parents worry that reading stories to their child will be a difficult task. This is not the case with decodable readers as they allow children to have a great time learning how to decode words while they also have fun!


Decodable books are typically very easy to read. The words that are used in this type of books are often very simple, easy words. This makes it much easier for children to sound out these words. They also don’t have to worry about “reading” words that are difficult or complex.


Decodable readers use a vocabulary that is directly linked to the story. A decodable story might use only one or two new words per page. In contrast, a regular story might use many more new words per page.

Decoding 1st-Grade Words

One of the best features of decodable reading programs for 1stgraders is that they help children read words that are different from others. This makes learning to read at an early age much easier. The best part is that children love to learn to read with this method.


Children can enjoy decoding words while they are having fun. They can use the program to practice sounding out words and making connections between words and objects. They can use their new knowledge of words to play games and create stories. The sky’s the limit!

Decoding Text

Another great thing about decodable reading programs is that they help children read real stories. Some of the best stories that are featured in decodable readers are original stories. These books are usually easy to read and have a simple storyline that is easy to follow.


Many decodable readers come with a fascinating and educational website. The online site hosts the tale on which the book is based so that children can continue to learn and play along with the story.


Children can pair their reading skills with problem-solving and logical skills. They can use their new vocabulary to answer comprehension questions about the story. They can apply their skills to create a visual representation of what they learned.

Why Decodable Reading Programs are the Best for 1st-Grade Students

Many 1stgraders struggle with reading because they don’t yet know how to “read” words. Decodable reading programs assist them in identifying individual letters, syllables, and phonemes. This makes it much easier for them to sound out words.


Many parents worry that their 1st-graders are “too young” to learn how to read. This is not the case with decodable readers for 1stgraders! Nor are they only fun, but they are also effective.


There are a variety of decodable readers for sale, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding one that your child will enjoy.


Decodable readers can help 1stgraders improve their reading skills dramatically. These programs are short, simple, and easy to use, so they are perfect for busy parents.


Decodable reading programs are perfect for 1stgraders who are struggling to read and enjoy books. These programs help kids break words into individual letters, phonemes, or letters, which in turn allows them to sound out words and build their phonemic awareness.

Why Decodable Readers are important

Decodable readers are very important because they aid children to break words into syllables, phonemes, or letters. Most children need to learn how to do this to become fluent readers.

Bottom line

Reading to children is a wonderful way to build a child’s vocabulary and help them become better readers. However, finding reading materials that are appropriate for your child’s age can be difficult. That’s why we created this article. We hope that it can assist parents and teachers to find the best decodable reading programs for 1stgraders.

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Access Level 1’s four interactive stories and the accompanying supplemental resources to teach elementary students how to read. No credit card is needed. Join the 42,635 teachers and students using our reading program.

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