Reading Teacher

Navigating the Horizons: The Science of Reading – Past, Present, and Future

Navigating the Horizons: The Science of Reading – Past, Present, and Future


In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the science of reading stands as a beacon of knowledge, illuminating the path to literacy mastery for learners of all ages. As we reflect on its journey through the annals of time, examine its current impact, and envision its future trajectory, we gain invaluable insights into the transformative power of evidence-based literacy instruction.


The Past: Seeds of Knowledge

The roots of the science of reading trace back to ancient civilizations, where the art of literacy was revered as a sacred gift. From the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt to the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, humanity's quest for literacy has been a testament to the enduring power of written language.


Fast forward to the 20th century, and the science of reading began to take shape as educators and researchers delved into the cognitive processes underlying literacy acquisition. Pioneering figures such as Jeanne Chall and Rudolf Flesch paved the way for evidence-based approaches to reading instruction, laying the groundwork for future advancements in the field.


The Present: A Paradigm Shift

In recent decades, the science of reading has undergone a profound transformation, fueled by advances in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and education research. Groundbreaking studies have shed light on the essential components of literacy instruction, prompting a paradigm shift in educational practices worldwide.


Key principles such as phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension strategies form the cornerstone of the science of reading framework. Educators are increasingly embracing evidence-based practices grounded in these principles, leading to improved outcomes for learners of all ages and abilities.


However, challenges persist, as disparities in literacy achievement persist among diverse student populations. Addressing these disparities requires a concerted effort to ensure equitable access to high-quality literacy instruction, personalized interventions, and supportive learning environments for all learners.


The Future: Charting New Horizons

As we gaze into the future, the science of reading holds boundless potential to revolutionize literacy instruction and empower learners worldwide. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and personalized learning platforms offer unprecedented opportunities to individualize instruction and support learners' unique needs.


Furthermore, interdisciplinary collaborations between educators, researchers, policymakers, and technology innovators will drive innovation in literacy instruction and expand our understanding of the cognitive processes underlying reading acquisition and comprehension.


However, realizing this vision requires a collective commitment to evidence-based practices, ongoing professional development, and continuous improvement in literacy instruction. By harnessing the transformative power of the science of reading, we can ensure that every learner has the opportunity to unlock the doors to knowledge and achieve their full potential.


In conclusion, the science of reading represents a journey of discovery, innovation, and empowerment. From its humble beginnings to its current impact and future promise, the science of reading continues to inspire educators, researchers, and learners worldwide to unlock the mysteries of literacy and create a brighter future for generations to come.

Mastering Phonics and Phonemic Awareness: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering Phonics and Phonemic Awareness: A Comprehensive Guide


Mastering Phonics and Phonemic AwarenessIn the realm of early literacy, mastering phonics and phonemic awareness serves as the cornerstone for proficient reading and language acquisition. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify these fundamental components, providing educators, parents, and learners with valuable insights, strategies, and practical tips to foster a strong foundation in reading.


Understanding Phonics:

Phonics is the systematic relationship between sounds and their corresponding letters, playing a pivotal role in decoding words. It empowers learners to grasp the alphabetic principle, recognizing that letters represent specific sounds. By understanding phonics, readers enhance their ability to decode unfamiliar words and improve spelling skills.


Phonics vs. Whole Language Approach:

While phonics emphasizes the direct teaching of letter-sound relationships, the whole language approach focuses on contextual learning through exposure to complete words and sentences. Striking a balance between these methodologies ensures a comprehensive and effective reading instruction.


The Alphabetic Principle:

Central to phonics instruction is the alphabetic principle, where learners understand that written words are composed of letters that represent sounds. This principle lays the groundwork for decoding and spelling, fostering a deeper connection between letters and their corresponding sounds.


Phonemic Awareness Demystified:

Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds, or phonemes, within spoken words. Unlike phonics, which involves the connection between letters and sounds, phonemic awareness is purely auditory. It's a critical skill that enables learners to decode and spell words accurately.


The Role of Phonemic Awareness in Reading:

Phonemic awareness plays a pivotal role in decoding and spelling. When learners can identify and manipulate individual phonemes, they develop a strong foundation for recognizing word patterns, improving reading fluency, and becoming proficient readers.


Phonemic Awareness Activities:

Engaging activities are key to developing phonemic awareness. From rhyming games to segmenting and blending sounds, these activities help learners grasp the subtleties of individual phonemes. Interactive and enjoyable exercises make the learning process more accessible for young readers.


Strategies for Effective Instruction:

Integrating phonics and phonemic awareness ensures a balanced approach to reading instruction. Employing classroom activities and games that make learning enjoyable enhances engagement. Tailoring instruction to support struggling readers allows for personalized learning experiences, addressing diverse needs.


Resources and Tools:

Various phonics programs offer systematic instruction, reinforcing the connection between letters and sounds. Online tools and apps provide interactive platforms for learners to practice phonics and phonemic awareness skills in a digital format, catering to diverse learning styles.



Mastering phonics and phonemic awareness is the gateway to unlocking the world of reading. By understanding the alphabetic principle, embracing phonemic awareness, and employing effective instructional strategies, educators and parents can empower learners to become confident and proficient readers. With a solid foundation in place, the journey to literacy becomes an exciting adventure filled with discovery and understanding.

The Foundation of Reading: Exploring the Power of Phonemic Awareness

The Foundation of Reading: Exploring the Power of Phonemic Awareness


Phonemic awareness is a crucial skill that serves as the foundation for successful reading and language development. It involves the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds, or phonemes, in spoken words. In this article, we will delve into the significance of phonemic awareness and its impact on early literacy. By understanding the key components of phonemic awareness and implementing effective strategies, parents and educators can support children in developing this essential skill and pave the way for their reading success.


What is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonemic awareness refers to the understanding that spoken words are composed of individual sounds, known as phonemes. It involves the ability to identify, isolate, blend, segment, and manipulate these sounds within words, without the support of print. Phonemic awareness is an auditory skill that focuses on sounds rather than the letters that represent them.


Importance for Reading and Language Skills:

Phonemic awareness is a crucial precursor to reading and language proficiency. It helps children develop the foundational skills necessary for phonics, decoding, spelling, and reading fluency. Research has shown that children with strong phonemic awareness skills are more likely to become successful readers. Additionally, phonemic awareness also contributes to vocabulary development, listening comprehension, and overall oral language skills.


Developing Phonemic Awareness:

There are several effective strategies to promote phonemic awareness in children:

Sound Play: Engage children in playful activities that involve rhyming, blending sounds, and segmenting words. For example, play word family games or create silly rhymes.

Sound Discrimination: Encourage children to identify and distinguish between sounds in words. This can be done through listening activities, such as identifying the odd sound out in a series of words.

Sound Manipulation: Provide opportunities for children to manipulate sounds in words by adding, deleting, or substituting sounds. This can be practiced through word blending, segmenting, or phoneme manipulation games.

Phonemic Awareness Songs and Chants: Utilize catchy songs and chants that emphasize specific phonemic awareness skills. This helps children develop an ear for individual sounds and enhances their phonemic awareness abilities.

Integration with Literacy Instruction:

Phonemic awareness should be integrated into early literacy instruction. It is essential to explicitly teach children how sounds relate to letters and words, as phonemic awareness forms the basis for phonics instruction. By incorporating phonemic awareness activities into reading and writing lessons, educators can help children make connections between spoken and written language.


Progression and Assessment:

Phonemic awareness skills develop along a continuum, starting with basic sound recognition and advancing to more complex tasks. It is important to monitor children's progress and tailor instruction accordingly. Ongoing assessment through informal observation, checklists, and standardized assessments can help identify areas of strength and areas that require additional support.



Phonemic awareness is a fundamental skill that underlies reading and language development. By fostering phonemic awareness through engaging activities, incorporating it into literacy instruction, and assessing progress, parents and educators play a vital role in supporting children's early literacy skills. The development of strong phonemic awareness provides a solid foundation for phonics, decoding, spelling, and reading fluency, enabling children to become proficient readers. By nurturing this essential skill, we empower children to unlock the magic of reading and set them on a path towards a lifetime of literacy and language success.

Phonics and Phonemic Awareness: Understanding Their Importance and Function

Phonics and Phonemic Awareness: Understanding Their Importance and Function


When it comes to learning to read and write, phonics and phonemic awareness play vital roles in a child's development. These two foundational skills are key components of early literacy education. In this article, we will explore what phonics and phonemic awareness are, their significance in reading acquisition, and how they work together to support language skills. Let's delve into the world of phonics and phonemic awareness and uncover their fundamental principles.


Understanding Phonics:

Phonics and Phonemic AwarenessPhonics refers to the systematic instruction of the relationship between sounds and the letters or groups of letters that represent them. It involves teaching children how to connect individual sounds (phonemes) with specific letters or letter combinations (graphemes). Phonics instruction helps children understand the correspondence between spoken and written language, enabling them to decode words and read fluently.


Phonics teaches children the basic rules and patterns of the language, starting with simple letter-sound associations and gradually progressing to more complex phonetic patterns. By understanding phonics, children gain the tools to sound out unfamiliar words, recognize common spelling patterns, and develop reading and spelling skills.


Exploring Phonemic Awareness:

Phonemic awareness, on the other hand, focuses on the ability to identify and manipulate individual phonemes, which are the smallest units of sound in language. It involves recognizing and working with the sounds of spoken words, such as blending, segmenting, and manipulating phonemes. Phonemic awareness is an auditory skill that does not involve written language.


Through activities like rhyming, blending sounds to form words, segmenting words into individual sounds, and manipulating sounds to create new words, phonemic awareness helps children develop a strong foundation in language and phonological processing. This skill allows them to distinguish and manipulate individual sounds, which is crucial for later reading and spelling success.


The Synergy between Phonics and Phonemic Awareness:

Phonics and phonemic awareness are complementary skills that work hand in hand to support reading development. Phonemic awareness lays the groundwork by helping children become aware of the individual sounds within words. This auditory skill is a precursor to phonics instruction as it provides children with a deep understanding of the sound structure of language.


Once children have developed phonemic awareness, phonics instruction builds upon this foundation by connecting sounds to written symbols. By learning letter-sound associations and phonetic patterns, children gain the ability to decode words, recognize spelling patterns, and develop fluency in reading and writing.


The synergy between phonics and phonemic awareness enhances reading comprehension, word recognition, and spelling proficiency. Phonemic awareness helps children break words into sounds, while phonics helps them connect those sounds to specific letters or letter combinations.


Educators often employ a systematic and explicit approach to teach phonics and phonemic awareness. This involves providing direct instruction, engaging in multisensory activities, and offering ample opportunities for practice and application.



Phonics and phonemic awareness are foundational skills that play a vital role in early literacy development. Phonics instruction focuses on teaching the relationship between sounds and letters, enabling children to decode words and read fluently. Phonemic awareness, on the other hand, focuses on developing children's ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words, laying the groundwork for phonics instruction.


By combining the power of phonics and phonemic awareness, children develop strong language skills, enhancing their reading, writing, and spelling abilities. These skills serve as building blocks for future academic success and create a solid foundation for lifelong literacy.

Phonemic Awareness Lessons for Kindergarten

Phonemic Awareness Lessons for Kindergarten

At Reading Teacher, phonemic awareness is the foundation of long-term reading success. This fundamental skill takes time to develop -- but by starting as early as kindergarten, young readers can get a headstart on their ability to hear, recognize, and play with the individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.


Whether you’re a parent or educator, it’s helpful -- and, at times, essential -- to have a healthy backlog of phonemic awareness lessons for kindergarten students. Phonemic awareness is the backbone of confident reading; and in the long run, both you and your student will be grateful for the early start.


Read on for a brief review of phonemic awareness -- because who doesn’t need a refresher? -- followed by four fun and effective phonemic awareness activities for kindergartners.


What is Phonemic Awareness?


When readers unlock the magic of hearing, recognizing, and manipulating the sound units in words, they’re using phonemic awareness.


While there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, there are 44 phonemes. You can attribute this phenomenon to the power of sound manipulation. Because we can blend certain letters together, such as /sh/ or /ch/, our alphabet allows for unique mixes of sound.


To practice their manipulation skills -- and, in turn, develop their phonemic awareness -- students will also practice segmenting words into phonemes, removing one sound to make a new word, or substituting one sound for another: for example, changing the /g/ in “goat” with /c/ to make “coat.”


Best Phonemic Awareness Lessons for Kindergarten


In kindergarten, many students are eager to tap into the magic of reading. But before they can do this, they have plenty of skills to develop!


Fortunately, these phonemic awareness lessons make it easier for kindergartners to blossom into proficient first-grade decoders -- and, eventually, lifelong readers.


1.   Silly Songs

Phonemic awareness is all about sounds -- so to appease their listening ears, get silly with singing. For an easy tune, try “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands”: you can replace the main chorus with “If you think you know this word, shout it out!”


After singing the verse, shout out the sounds (phenomes) of a simple, 3-letter word. For example, you could say F-A-R, and kindergartners shout back “far.” Teachers who use this activity recommend preparing words beforehand: this lesson can get loud, but it’s also fun and interactive.


2.   Sound Swaps

This lesson is all about manipulating phonemes. You can use a whiteboard, cards, or another visual cue to present a word. Ask students to read the word, then challenge them to swap a sound in the word with a new one. For example, students can make the following swaps:

  • Bat to Cat
  • Dog to Log
  • Sand to Send


Notice that the sound “swaps” can occur in the beginning, middle, or end of a word, depending on the student’s skill level. To cement the meaning of each word, you can invite students to draw a simple picture of the word’s definition, before and after the swap.


3.   Nonsense Words

What’s the purpose of reading nonsense? When students are just beginning to develop their phonemic awareness, there’s actually a purpose to reading nonsense words, which are simply parts of whole words that, on their own, have no meaning.


For example, “rep” and “lat” aren’t actual words -- but “reptile” and “later” definitely are! When students read nonsense words, they’re also learning syllables, which are essential for reading fluency. Nonsense words also give adults a sense of whether a student knows how to decode 3-sound phonemes.


Regardless of their current decoding skills, nonsense words help students build confidence with silly, sometimes funny word-bites before facing the real words in their favorite stories.


4.   Rhyme Time

We love rhyme time: it’s an accessible and engaging lesson that can be incorporated into classroom lessons or while driving to soccer practice. Simply present a word to the student -- for example, dog -- and invite them to list as many rhyme pairs as possible (log, fog, cog, bog, etc.).


For an extra challenge, adults can add a timer or present the word in “20-Questions” style. For example: “I’m thinking of an animal that rhymes with ‘sat.’ What is it?” The answer is “cat”, but it might take the student a few guesses to get there!


What’s the best part about this activity, and most phonemic awareness activities? There’s no pen or paper involved! It’s all about sound, careful listening, and a willingness to get silly while learning alongside your students.



  • Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate the individual sound units (phonemes) in words. Alongside phonological awareness, it’s an essential foundation for reading success.
  • Phonemic awareness lessons for kindergarten are all about sounds, active listening, and lots of fun! Some of our teacher-tested favorites include:
    • Practicing phonemes with silly songs
    • Swapping out sounds to make new words
    • Reading nonsense words
    • Turning any time into “rhyme time”!

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I See Sam Books: Fun-Filled Stories Lead to Phonics Success

I See Sam Books: Fun-Filled Stories Lead to Phonics Success

Finding books that engage and excite young readers is no small task. For parents and educators looking to upgrade their bookshelves, the I See Sam book series will quickly become a staple in their collection of phonics- and fun-filled books.


Reading Teacher is partially based on the I See Sam series, which has been downloaded from the Apple Bookstore over 1 million times since its inception. Today, we’ll explain how these simple books help young readers make big strides, and how Reading Teacher uses the same principles to ensure a strong reading foundation in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school.


The Science Behind I See Sam Books


The I See Sam Readers use the Reading for All Learners (RALP) curriculum, which is appropriate for K-3. Like other science-based curricula, this program provides systematic, explicit approaches to early phonics instruction. Of course, most kids don’t just volunteer to do phonics worksheets: they need engaging, colorful stories to develop a positive attitude toward reading while learning the basic skills for success.


Using small, skill-based books, the I See Sam accomplishes just that. Each book is based on RALP, which is supported by over 30 years of research. The books are well aligned with the views of the National Reading Panel (NRP) as well as the Institute of Education Sciences, both of which address reading instruction research and practice.

Picture 1

How Do the I See Sam Books Work?


Each book includes wacky stories and silly characters, which motivate children to read for pleasure - not just to work on their phonics skills. The underlying RALP curriculum touches on the Five Big Ideas of Reading, which we practice here at Reading Teacher. If you’re looking for new phonics readers, keep these five building blocks in mind as you read and work with your student.


1. Phonemic Awareness


Blending, segmenting, isolating, and recognizing: believe it or not, your student will develop all of these skills (and more!) as they learn to manipulate various units of sound. In 2006, the National Institute for Literacy highlighted these skills as predictive of long-term reading success. Together, they form the basis of phonemic awareness, which is the ability to manipulate sounds spoken words.


2. Phonics


At Reading Teacher, we talk about phonics all the time, but it’s heartfelt: we love phonics. In Put Reading First (2006), the authors write that phonics teaches children “that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.” Especially when read with another person, the I See Sam books reinforce the connection between speaking, reading, and listening.


3. Reading Fluency


Fluency is the ability to read smoothly and accurately with the appropriate expression. The RALP curriculum directly addresses text fluency: each RALP assessment specifies the criteria for “mastery,” which measures how quickly and accurately readers progress through the book.


4. Vocabulary


Vocabulary is a marker of reading fluency, The NRP acknowledges the connection between oral and written vocabulary and comprehension: in short, the more words that readers know, the more clues they have available to decode less-familiar words and phrases.


5. Comprehension


Comprehension relies on the previous four skills. When readers comprehend what they’re reading, they’re able to discuss it with others, which further deepens their understanding of the story.

Picture 2

Where to Find I See Sam Books


You can find I See Sam books online, in most bookstores, or even in your local library. Students will encounter similar stories and reading exercises through Reading Teacher, which includes 100 animated stories across 25 different skill levels.


With 141 books and more than 300 reading lessons, you’re bound to find an I See Sam story that engages and motivates your reader. Each book gradually introduces new sounds and words, which are embedded in easy-to-follow narratives.


Decodable readers, science-backed lessons, and kid-friendly stories: these three elements will help kids find success and joy in every book.




  • Reading Teacher is based on the I See Sam book series, which uses short, engaging stories to reinforce five building blocks of reading:
    • Phonemic Awareness
    • Phonics
    • Fluency
    • Vocabulary
    • Comprehension
  • The efficacy of these books is supported by over 30 years of reading science. I See Sam continues to inform the stories and exercises used by Reading Teacher and other major literacy programs.

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Phonemic Awareness Activities in Kindergarten

Phonemic Awareness Activities in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a big year. It sets the foundation for a child’s social life, academic career, and reading success. Along with their early literacy skills, many kindergartners will also develop their phonemic awareness.


What do kindergartners’ grown-ups need to know about this essential skill? If you need a refresher (it never hurts!), we’ve got you covered.


Phonemic Awareness


Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate the individual sound units, or phonemes, in spoken words. “Manipulation” includes blending and segmenting words into their phonemes or substituting one sound for another: for example, swapping /c/ in “cat” with /r/ to make “rat.”

Phonemic Awareness Activities in Kindergarten

Why is Phonemic Awareness Important?


Phonemic awareness is important for one major reason: it’s the last skill to develop before students achieve full reading fluency, and it’s a major predictor of long-term reading success.


Before moving onto bigger and better things in first grade, it’s crucial for kindergartners to have strong phonemic awareness. The best methods for teaching reading in kindergarten involve daily practice, lots of patience, and plenty of phonics. With the support of an adult and the following activities, your kindergartner will become a phonics wizard in no time.


What Are Some Phonemic Awareness Activities for Kindergarten?


You asked: we answered! Here are some teacher-approved phonemic awareness activities for kindergartners, which can be easily implemented at school or home.


Rhyme Time


Stop: it’s rhyme time! Turn any moment into an opportunity to play with a simple rhyming phonics game. Throughout the day or at the dinner table, present a word to your child - for example, bat - and ask them to list as many rhyming words as possible (rat, sat, cat, bat, etc.).


Turn up the fun by adding a timer, or pose the rhyme in a 20-Questions-style format. For example: “I’m thinking of a food that rhymes with leg. What is it?” Answer: egg.

Phonemic Awareness Activities for Kindergartener

Beginning Sounds Bonanza


Grab some stuffed animals and toy foods (or real foods, if you’re careful!). Your kindergartner’s goal is to match the beginning sounds of the foods and the animals: for example, popcorn with a pony. This is an easy way to practice phonemic awareness at home; if you’re playing at school, each student can bring in a stuffed animal for some reading-friendly show-and-tell.


By mastering this skill (also known as sound discrimination), kindergartners will become better listeners - and over time, better readers. By paying attention to the beginning sound of each word, students pick up new words faster and master more complicated words in first grade and beyond.

Phonemic Awareness Activities for Kids

Silly Singing: The Nonsense Game


If you’re searching for phonemic awareness activities for groups, we’ve got you covered. Invite students to sit around you and ask them to close or cover their eyes. Then read or sing a familiar song or poem to them. The trick is to alter some of the wording: if you’re singing “Five Little Speckled Frogs,” for example, you might change sat on a speckled log to sat on a log speckled.


Whenever students notice a misphrased sentence, then can raise their hand and correct the mistake. While this is a more advanced activity, the teacher can modify difficulty based on skill level. Using a variety of songs and nursery rhymes, teachers can document students’ progress throughout the year: over time, your emergent readers will become serious sentence detectives!


Snail Speak


You and your kindergartner will “speak like snails” by taking simple words and stretching them out. For example, the word lamp becomes /llllaaaaammmmp/, so little ones can hear and feel each sound in the word. Start with shorter words, and then add more syllables as your child improves their snail speech!


Pro Tip: Phonemic awareness activities are focused on the sounds that words make, not their visual components (i.e. letters). With these suggested games, we’re working on sounding out words, not writing them down - but your kindergartner will get there soon!


What does phonemic awareness look like in kindergarten?


At the kindergarten level, phonemic awareness looks like learning how to manipulate sounds. In addition to blending and segmenting words, kindergartners will become “sound detectives” and learn how to isolate and identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds of short words, ranging from two to three syllables in length.


By creating games and activities that focus on spoken and written words, adults help their youngsters become better readers and listeners.

Phonemic Awareness Activities


  • Phonemic awareness - the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate phonemes in spoken words - is an essential reading skill.
  • Phonemic awareness activities in kindergarten should be fun and conversational, but also provide an appropriate challenge! Some of our favorite games involve rhyming, stuffed animals, silly songs, and speaking in funny voices.
  • These activities help young readers become better manipulators of sound, and challenge them to identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds of increasingly complicated words.

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Looking for a New Reading Program? 3 Red-Flag Catchwords for Parents & Educators to Understand & Avoid

Looking for a New Reading Program? 3 Red-Flag Catchwords for Parents & Educators to Understand & Avoid

While we know that foundational literacy skills such as phonics and spelling are best learned from explicit instruction, seasoned reading teachers can run into trouble when a reading program sprinkles “red-flag” catchwords amid mentions of phonemic awareness, lifelong reading, and other honorable goals. To make it easier for you, we’re unpacking 3 red-flag words for teachers and parents to identify and avoid, based on the wisdom of psychologists, cognitive scientists, and other experts on the science of reading.

3 Red-Flag Catchwords for Parents

1) Whole Language Methodology

Many popular reading programs describe their methodologies as "whole language": a widely debunked approach that encourages rote memorization and guessing words from images, among other pitfalls. Other programs use the related term “whole-class” to describe their curricula, which might convey images of students collaborating to achieve reading success: surely, any teacher’s dream. Although the vision behind whole language programs might be a noble one, the research depicts a different reality. Many of these programs minimize teacher involvement and encourage kids to memorize words, guess words from pictures, or simply skip words they can’t read. In an effort to move the whole class forward, many students - particularly those vulnerable to reading challenges, such as children of low socioeconomic status, children of color, and students with learning disabilities - are left behind.

2) Guided Reading

When used without explicit instruction in phonics and spelling, guided reading is another phrase that should raise the hairs of any reading teacher. Also called leveled reading, guided reading involves the separation of students into groups based on their reading levels and facilitating reading within these groups. While this practice continues in many classrooms, there is very little evidence that it actually works. At its core, guided reading minimizes teacher instruction while giving kids in lower reading groups a steady diet of less challenging texts, denying opportunities to stretch themselves - and expand their love for reading - by reading texts above their instructional levels with active teacher support.

3 Red-Flag Catchwords for Parents & Educators to Understand & Avoid

3) Leveled Texts

Related to the concept of guided or leveled reading, teachers and parents are encouraged to steer clear of reading programs that emphasize leveled texts with no use of decodable readers. Although some leveled reading work is appropriate for reading texts independently, classroom reading teachers are advised to focus on decodable texts for early readers whose foundational skills are still developing. Decoding is a critical process that creates brain words: stored representations preserved in long-term memory and used for fluent reading and writing. Explicit lessons in decoding and spelling are brain-changers for literacy, writes educational psychologist J. Richard Gentry: he encourages teachers to “think of the third-grader who in one weekly spelling book lesson on single-syllable homophones can learn the meanings and spellings of sell, cell, sail, great, and grate and commit them to long-term memory.” This lesson increases the child’s brain words, which can be accessed for the rest of their life: the direct result of explicit instruction.

New reading program

At Reading Teacher, we are heartened by a growing movement led by educators, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and parents to improve the “architecture” of both reading programs and the literate brain. We believe our step-by-step program is a meaningful part of this movement, and look forward to providing more tools and news to help you teach the science of reading in your classroom - so stay tuned!


  • Popular reading programs use various buzzwords to describe their curricula: yet many of these programs are ineffective and even detrimental to students’ reading performance.
  • As alternatives to whole-language methodology, guided reading, and leveled reading, cognitive scientists and educational psychologists recommend systematic and explicit instruction in both decoding and spelling for young readers.
  • High-quality reading programs recognize the importance of long-term memory and utilize decodable readers and strong spelling instruction to develop the “architecture” of a literate brain.

Start Teaching Reading for Free Now!

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.

Phonics Reading Games:

Phonics reading Games


Phonics is the building block to develop effortless reading among children with fluency, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.  Breaking the words into their constituent sounds aids the children in understanding and build up their literacy skills. Phonic reading games and activities are designed to assist in developing fluency in young students.

Phonic sounds assist the children in identifying and recognizing the alphabet more quickly and easily.  Identification and reading of phonics is an integral part of children’s language development and learning. If learning is combined with games, it becomes more engaging and interactive for the child.

Easy Reading Games

Interesting reading games for young learners will help them grab the concepts and sounds easily.  Henceforth, today we will discuss some of the phonic reading games for young learners. Let’s begin:


Begin with the anchor Charts:

It is rather the best way to teach tough concepts simply. Keeping them around the students will enable them to identify the letters with sounds independently. When we talk about phonics, there is much to learn about them. Post anchor charts in the classrooms to guide them to get familiar with the new letters religiously.   This is also a way to develop confidence among them.

Phonics Reading Games

Beginners love to put words to the test both in terms of silent E on end and without. This equally helps them to memorize some of the basic yet important rules such as silent E, vowels blends, consonants,  and much more. The different sound of the letter C is tricky, and thus, students may struggle with it. Therefore, use the anchor charts to recognize such words falling in this category.  They also get familiar with the hard and soft letters like C and G.


Color the Starting sounds:

The majority of the children begin learning phonics by mastering the initial sound of words. Making your kids color in the starting words with the matching sounds will help them learn new concepts. Therefore, try the fun coloring pages.

Beginning sounds

When a child looks at the letters and says their sounds, similarly, they see the picture and color the initial word, which develops the learning of the first word. This ultimately assists in developing reading skills go the future as well.


Construct the chart of beginning sounds:

Beginning sounds charts is the ideal resource to make rhyme or while working on word families with the young learners. Here it is significant to note that for rhyming words, it is vital to know the beginning sounds in the whole process.

Reading Games - Phonics

One of the easiest ways is to utilize the chart to take, for example, ‘an’ and then go through the chart like b-an, c-an, t-an, p-an, f-an, r-an, v-an, m-an, and much more. The charts not only help to get familiar with the rhyming words, but it is also a 1 page and a simple resource to assist the kids with spelling at the starting level.


These charts include almost 55 different beginning sounds with comprehensive word making.  These charts may include consonants, blends, digraphs, even the harder sounds.


Slap the letter sounds to recognize:

It is a fun game for beginners that involve great attention-catching element as kids physically get involved in them.  Slapping with a fly swatter will help them in recognition of the phonics. It is an equally interesting activity that holds the attention of the young learners as they learn the concepts while playing with the letters and alphabets.

Reading Games for Children

Walk the word game:

This is one of the best activities for active or hyperactive learners. This makes them happy and keeps moving while getting used to the new alphabet. By doing this, kids get to use their whole bodies to practice identifying the sounds along with blending them.  This is one of the simple and easy play games.

Phonics Reading Games

Write the words in sidewalk chalk, and then walk, hop or skip along with them. Ask the child to begin at the side you begin reading at. After that, make them step on every letter and say the sound. This is pretty simple but productive to learn new concepts by prompting or testing them during play.


Just swap spelling games:

The basic idea is to begin from the top and spell the very first word with letter tiles.  You keep moving on the game board and swap out one letter, for instance, cat to can. Moreover, you can also swap the last letter. If learners pay attention to the letters, they will know which letter is being swapped or exchanged.

Phonics Reading Games for Children

Students can move from one box to the other, the change of one letter brings in the new world represented by the picture. This may be a real challenge for the young learners, but mind testing technique to make them learn the words.


Compete at blends and digraphs bingo:

Bingo games are fun that assist them in helping the early readers to master the blends and digraphs. They struggle to differentiate between the blends, vowels, and single consonants.

Reading Games:


With different Online phonic reading games, your child will recognize by just listening to the sounds of the words.  Give your child a head start at phonics and reading proficiency with our designed games.

Reading facilitates that young learners will have a blast mastering the toughest and tricky phonic concepts.  With the beautiful animation and exciting challenges, the beginners will get involved in them. These kindergarten and 1st-grade phonic reading games are the perfect way to empower your kids with reading skills.

Phonics Reading Games

Learning to read is an overwhelming task, especially when letters don’t always make a similar sound.  Our collection is developed by professionals to meet the specifications of kindergarten to grade 1 learners. Our sole objective remains to introduce the beginner to the world of letters and sounds and the relationship easily.  With audio, visuals, and phonic games, your child will have fundamental reading and spelling skills that will go a long way with him. This strengthens your familiarity as they immerse in delightful animation quest and story problems.

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