Your Child and Reading: Getting Ready with Phonics
K12’s Noodleverse Language Arts program is designed to boost five critical reading skills in early learners.
How well is your child learning to read? Reading is a major challenge, so don’t be discouraged if he or she is having a few difficulties. According to the National Reading Panel, successful reading instruction should cover 5 critical skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Today, we’ll talk about phonics and, in a minute, a great new way to master that and other skills.
First, a definition: Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds. Students who receive systematic instruction in phonics are less likely to develop misconceptions about letters and sounds. Many times, a reading difficulty may stem from a simple misconception learned early on. For example, c doesn’t always say /k/ as in cat, and this can be very, very confusing for your child.
In basic phonics instruction, students learn the 26 letters of the alphabet, and separately they learn to hear the 44 sounds that make up all of the words in the English language. Slowly, instruction brings the two concepts together, and students learn the letter (or letter combinations) that represent a specific sound.
Additionally, students learn what are called sight wordswords that might not follow patterns the student has mastered, but are important to know in order to read. For example, it’s much easier to read a little story if you know the words the, and, is, and so on. Next, we build on that foundationstudents put together and take apart simple words such as top, sat, up, fish, and then.
In more advanced phonics instruction, students build on the basics by learning about consonant blends (such as the bl at the beginning of blend and the nd at the end of blend), long vowels (so many ways each vowel sound can be made! Stone, go, road, slow! Stay, weigh, plate, maid! True, sleuth, new! Try, hi, light, ride! Unicorn, mute, cue, few! Feet, Pete, treat, me!), and difficult spelling patterns such as-dge for /j/ or ph for /f/. With so many rule breakers in the English language, students need a lot of repeated practice.
A great way to get extra practice in phonics and all the other key skills is with a new, online program from K12 called Noodleverse Language Arts. Noodleverse offers supplemental reading and writing practice and enrichment for grades K–3.
Noodleverse for kindergarten and first grade levels includes Phoneme Planet, the home of Phonicsthe perfect place for review and practice of important phonics skills. There, students can choose from six fun and different landsWestern Wilds, Passage Apartments, Treasure Tunnels, Kingdom of Figment, Boiler Room, and Onomato Brothers Carnival. Each land allows students to practice a specific phonics-based skill, from mastering letter-sound relationships and sight words, to applying those skills by reading stories. Literally, hundreds of activities to keep kids engaged and practicing these important skills are a click away!
Mastering the letters, sounds, and rules for putting 26 letters and 44 sounds together can be a daunting task, and it requires a lot of time and practice. Thankfully, there’s Noodleverse to help with the practice.
Kristen Kinney-Haines is director of primary literacy for K12. She has worked with the company's Phonics and Language Arts programs since 2001. Dr. Kinney-Haines is responsible for the creation and development of MARK12 Reading, K12's first remedial product, as well the second generation of K-2 Language Arts and Phonics. Previously, she taught kindergarten and first grade in Upstate New York and Special Education in Northern Virginia. Dr. Kinney-Haines holds a bachelor of science degree in Education from the State University of New York at Geneseo, a master's degree in Reading from Nazareth College, and a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction from The George Washington University.