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Tool 04

Phonics and Spelling


Teachers will:

  • Define the phases of word recognition development

  • Recognize students’ word recognition phases and apply appropriate word level instruction

  • Identify the four areas in the reading brain and understand reading activation patterns

  • Teach phonics and spelling explicitly and systematically

  • Match reading materials to student word level reading

  • Build practice activities into phonics lessons

Part 1: Introduction

This tool will provide some current thinking about the purpose of phonics and spelling, why it is important, and how to best teach these skills as part of a complete reading program for all of our students.

Topic 1: Introduction to the Phonics Tool

  • All teachers know those kids who, despite all of their efforts, aren’t moving forward with their reading skills. Teachers will strengthen an understanding of what they can do to make sure all students benefit from the teacher’s knowledge and instruction.

  • All students benefit from instruction that reveals the secrets of the written code.

Topic 2: The Phases of Word Recognition Development

  • L. Ehri’s phases of word recognition development provide a foundation for studying well documented phases students pass through as they learn the system of decoding.

Topic 3: Interpret the Phases

  • The phases help teachers assess where students are in their development and provide the appropriate word level phonics instruction.

  • Delightful videos and spelling samples help to make the phases come alive for teachers.

Part 2: Research - How the Brain Reads

Topic 1: The Reading Brain

  • Thanks to fMRI and other imaging technologies, we have answers to many questions about the reading brain to help us teach reading more effectively. Teachers explore some of those findings in this section.

Topic 2: Elements of Effective Phonics Instruction – How to Teach

  • Explicit and systematic instruction is defined, explained, and many examples provided.

  • Teachers are taken through samples of explicit and systematic instruction and asked to define the elements of both.

Topic 3: Bonus: Learn a Little More About English Orthography

  • Teachers are introduced to many interesting explanations for English spelling. These bonus tips can be integrated into reading and spelling lessons to enhance student interest in why words are spelled the way they are.

  • The Six Syllable Types are included in this Bonus section.

Part 3: Practice - Phonics in the Classroom

Teachers experience the video lessons in this section. They will view whole phonics lessons with large groups, and also practice activities they can use with both small and whole groups. The activities are presented in both lower (K-2) and intermediate (3-6) classrooms. the lower grades present basic grapheme phoneme instruction and the upper grade lessons are based on vocabulary and spelling lessons to demonstrate advanced phonics.

Topic 1: Observe a Full Phonics Lesson

  • Edited full phonics lessons are shown to demonstrate explicit and systematic phonics lessons for both lower and upper grades.

Topic 2: Learn Practice Routines

  • The practice activities in these videos are meant to provide practice after teachers’ instruction because they do just that – provide practice with the elements teachers have taught them.

  • Practice activities provide the additional time with the content necessary to build automaticity with decoding and word recognition.

Part 4: Planning - Explicit and Systematic Lessons

This planning section provides guidance to help teachers plan and incorporate the content from Tool 4 into their daily phonics lessons for early alphabetic through consolidated phases of word recognition.
Several downloads, forms and ideas, help teachers plan explicit and systematic lessons using their reading programs or if they do not have a reading program, how to create appropriate lessons for all grades, K-6.

Part 5: Wrap Up

Topic 1: Summary

  • All students benefit from instruction that teaches them how the written code works. The summary highlights the main content from Tool 4 to reinforce the importance of explicit and systematic instruction at the basic and advanced phonics levels.

Topic 2: Conversation with an Expert

  • Dr. Susan Hall, of 95% Group, speaks to teachers about phonics and what to consider when teaching phonics lessons for all students.

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