A Reading Specialist Talks About Teaching Reading: Phonics, Word Recognition and Fluency

Posted by Kristy Beaudry McCain on Sep 5, 2014 8:40:49 AM

Researched Based Reading Instruction

Phonics and Word Recognition

book pages

Helping Students Become Successful Readers

Educators use researched based principles and practice to teach students how to read. Using a proven, explicit, systematic program, people of all ages can learn to read. One crucial component of reading instruction is phonics and word recognition.

Teach Phonics and Word Analysis Skills To Decode Words

Introducing learners to letters and sounds helps them to break the reading code. Students should memorize the sound/symbol correspondence of letters. Primary teachers should instruct the sound and symbol associations each day, to help students store this information in their long term memory. Songs and chants help students to recall letter sounds. Upper elementary teachers should review these to promote mastery.

thumb-1.jpg Singing The Consonant Sounds
by Kim Mitzo Thompson (author), Patrick Girouard (illustrator) © 2012
ISBN: 9781620020180
What words begin with the letter b? Ball and bat and baby! Learning all about consonant sounds is fun with this catchy rhyme.


thumb-2.jpg Things I Do (Single Letter Sounds-2A)
by Lynda Franco (author)
ISBN: 9781621672340
This book is intended for readers at the speech production stage of language acquisition. It will allow the reader to focus on the sounds of the English Language (phonemic awareness); single letter recognition; sound/letter associations; beginning decoding skills by deconding known vocabulary; vocabulary development; and word/picture associations.

Instruct Short Vowels

In teaching reading, the short vowel sounds should be introduced prior to the long vowel sounds. After learning the short vowel sounds, students are able to decode a large number of words, quite quickly. Big Universe users can type short vowels in the search box to find engaging texts that help students practice short vowels. Some of the texts are featured below.

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Instruct Long Vowels

Long vowels must be explicitly instructed and are more complicated for children to learn due to the fact that they have multiple spellings for the same sounds. Students will need a lot of practice with long vowels using blending strategies and decodable texts.

Big Universe Users can type long vowels in the search box to find engaging texts that help students practice the long vowels. Some of the texts are featured below.

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Read High Frequency Words By Sight

Students need to be explicitly taught the 200 most common high frequency or sight words.

High-frequency words are the most commonly used words in printed text. At least 50 percent of all text is composed of HF words. Many sight words are phonetically irregular. Children do not sound out sight words. The words tend to be abstract, and have limited visual correspondence. Students must memorize the words in order to read quickly and fluently.

Strategies to help students learn high frequency words:

  • Provide students with books to practice high frequency words.
  • Use texts specifically created to practice high frequency words
  • Make high frequency flashcards
  • Construct tactile flashcards (students can use glue and sand to write high frequency words on flashcards)
  • Create high frequency word books
  • Cut HF words out of a newspaper or magazine. Glue them on construction paper or poster board.

Educators can introduce the words to students by showing them flashcards and the practicing the words in books. Students can create their own high frequency word books and flashcards. Kids can practice with their parents and guardians at home. Tactile learners can create high frequency words using cotton balls, felt or even sand!

Books Recommendations For Beginning High Frequency Words Learners

thumbMy Clothes
by Sharon Lewis (author), Sou Saetern (illustrator) © 2011
ISBN: 9781620468449
Readers learn the high-frequency word “my,” along with several useful vocabulary words for articles of clothing. They can color the black-and-white illustrations and follow along with the text by using the dots below each word.

Books Recommendations For Practicing High Frequency Words

thumb.jpgThe Ugliest Duckling
by John Lakey
ISBN: 1561759767
This 6-book series is filled with fun! Beginning readers are sure to enjoy these stories starring offbeat fantasy characters involved in humorous “not quite predictable” plots. Fibs, Fables, & Lies is an innovative, entertaining blend of humor and learning. It utilizes both phonics and word repetition in a delightful new way that never loses sight of the fun of reading. The zany and colorful illustrations add to the appeal. Set includes 18 storybooks (3 of each title) and a 24-page book of ready-to-use activities that test comprehension and review sight words. Great fun for reluctant readers!

Big Universe Offers Many Engaging Texts That Help Students Practice High Frequency Words

Users can type sight words in the search box to find engaging texts that help students practice high frequency words. Some of the texts are featured below.

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freeclipart appleConnecting To The Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards clearly outline what is expected of students at each grade level, for students in the United States. The Common Core State Standards can be found at www.corestandards.org/

Phonics and Word Recognition:
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.
Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).
Distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.

Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Big Universe News, Literacy

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