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Phonics Patterns 2 (To Print) - Sound City Reading


Many young readers are puzzled by the rules and exceptions of spelling. Research shows that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge. Learn more about the relationships between letters and sounds and how a proper understanding of spelling mechanics can lead to improved reading.




Phonics Patterns 2 (To Print) - Sound City Reading


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As you read about these principles, keep in mind that this part of the article is designed to help teachers better understand the nature and structure of the English spelling system. This is essential background knowledge for teachers of reading, spelling, and writing. As Snow et al. explained, the rules for spelling are very complex, "so it is not surprising that many highly literate adults who use those rules correctly [and automatically] find it difficult to talk about them or answer questions about them. Teachers who have been taught about phonics have typically received information about [spelling] as lists of rules about letter sequence constraints. Such lists are unmotivated, unappealing, and difficult to learn. Lists without a logical framework or set of principles must be learned by rote rather than reason." By providing a logical framework, these five principles transform spelling from an arbitrary list of rules about how letters can and cannot be combined into a structured system. Section two of this article offers a way of breaking that system into key content for instruction in kindergarten through seventh grade.


The idea of learning 250 graphemes may seem overwhelming at first, but spreading instruction across several grades makes the task manageable for teachers and students. Most can be learned through direct instruction and practice; some are learned more opportunistically, such as the various spellings for the vowel sound /u/: ue, ui, ew, u, oo.


Five years ago, the National Reading Panel omitted spelling (and writing) from its list of five essential components of a comprehensive reading lesson (which were phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). At the time, the best evidence on spelling indicated that phonological awareness instruction (which covers all levels of the speech sound system, including word boundaries, phonemes, syllables, etc.) improves spelling in first-graders, and that phonics instruction (which is more narrowly focused on the relationship between letters and the sounds) has a positive effect on spelling achievement in the primary grades. As a result, the NRP implied that spelling would develop in response to appropriate reading instruction.


As they are learning the letter sounds, children also need to learn the letter names. In kindergarten, fluency with letter names and forms facilitates spelling and is an indicator that children are likely to develop oral reading fluency. Letters should be taught directly and systematically. Older poor spellers should be asked to write the alphabet in order,accurately, and quickly.


When a gifted teacher asked me recently, "Well really how does spelling support reading?" I knew it did, but I couldn't really answer. I was almost mad that she was dismissing spelling patterns and phonics as not essential to reading. This article really helped me find my voice in this discussion.


Reading by using phonics is often referred to as decoding words, sounding-out words or using print-to-sound relationships. Since phonics focuses on the sounds and letters within words (i.e. sublexical),[11] it is often contrasted with whole language (a word-level-up philosophy for teaching reading) and a compromise approach called balanced literacy (the attempt to combine whole language and phonics).


The National Reading Panel in the United States concluded that systematic phonics instruction is more effective than unsystematic phonics or non-phonics instruction.[14] Some critics suggest that systematic phonics is "skill and drill" with little attention to meaning. However, researchers point out that this impression is false. Teachers can use engaging games or materials to teach letter-sound connections, and it can also be incorporated with the reading of meaningful text.[15]


The term phonics during the 19th century and into the 1970s was used as a synonym of phonetics. The use of the term in reference to the method of teaching is dated to 1901 by the Oxford English Dictionary. The relationship between sounds and letters is the backbone of traditional phonics.


The spelling structures for some alphabetic languages, such as Spanish, Russian and German, are comparatively orthographically transparent, or orthographically shallow, because there is nearly a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and the letter patterns that represent them. English spelling is more complex, a deep orthography, partly because it attempts to represent the 40+ phonemes of the spoken language with an alphabet composed of only 26 letters (and no accent marks or diacritics). As a result, two letters are often used together to represent distinct sounds, referred to as digraphs. For example, t and h placed side by side to represent either /θ/ as in math or /ð/ as in father.


English has absorbed many words from other languages throughout its history, usually without changing the spelling of those words. As a result, the written form of English includes the spelling patterns of many languages (Old English, Old Norse, Norman French, Classical Latin and Greek, as well as numerous modern languages) superimposed upon one another.[28] These overlapping spelling patterns mean that in many cases the same sound can be spelled differently (e.g. tray and break) and the same spelling can represent different sounds (e.g. moon and book). However, the spelling patterns usually follow certain conventions.[29] In addition, the Great Vowel Shift, a historical linguistic process in which the quality of many vowels in English changed while the spelling remained as it was, greatly diminished the transparency of English spelling in relation to pronunciation.


The result is that English spelling patterns vary considerably in the degree to which they follow rules. For example, the letters ee almost always represent /iː/ (e.g. meet), but the sound can also be represented by the letters e, i and y and digraphs ie, ei, or ea (e.g. she, sardine, sunny, chief, seize, eat). Similarly, the letter cluster ough represents /ʌf/ as in enough, /oʊ/ as in though, /uː/ as in through, /ɒf/ as in cough, /aʊ/ as in bough, /ɔː/ as in bought, and /ʌp/ as in hiccough, while in slough and lough, the pronunciation varies.


Although the patterns are inconsistent, when English spelling rules take into account syllable structure, phonetics, etymology, and accents, there are dozens of rules that are 75% or more reliable.[30] This level of reliability can only be achieved by extending the rules far outside the domain of phonics, which deals with letter-sound correspondences, and into the morphophonemic and morphological domains.


The following are a selection of the alternative spellings of the 40+ sounds of the English language based on General American English pronunciation, recognizing there are many regional variations. Teachers of synthetic phonics emphasize the letter sounds not the letter names (i.e. mmm not em, sss not ess, fff not ef). It is usually recommended that teachers of English-reading introduce the "most frequent sounds" and the "common spellings" first and save the more infrequent sounds and complex spellings for later. (e.g. the sounds /s/ and /t/ before /v/ and /w/; and the spellings cake before eight and cat before duck).[31][32][33][34]


There are many ways that phonics is taught and it is often taught together with some of the following: oral language skills,[37][38] concepts about print,[39] phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonology, oral fluency, vocabulary, syllables, reading comprehension, spelling, word study,[40][41][42] cooperative learning, multisensory learning, and guided reading. And, phonics is often featured in discussions about science of reading,[43][44] and evidence-based practices.


The Ontario Association of Deans of Education (Canada) published research Monograph # 37 entitled Supporting early language and literacy with suggestions for parents and teachers in helping children prior to grade one. It covers the areas of letter names and letter-sound correspondence (phonics), as well as conversation, play-based learning, print, phonological awareness, shared reading, and vocabulary.[47]


Proponents of evidence-based education maintain that teaching reading without teaching phonics can be harmful to large numbers of students, although in their view not all phonics teaching programs are equally effective. According to them, the effectiveness of a program depends on using a specific curriculum and approach to instruction techniques, classroom management, grouping, and other factors.[48]


Interest in evidence-based education appears to be growing.[49] In 2019, Best Evidence Encyclopedia (BEE) released a review of research on 48 different programs for struggling readers in elementary schools.[50] Many of the programs used phonics-based teaching and/or one or more of the following: cooperative learning, technology-supported adaptive instruction (see Educational technology), metacognitive skills, phonemic awareness, word reading, fluency, vocabulary, multisensory learning, spelling, guided reading, reading comprehension, word analysis, structured curriculum, and balanced literacy (non-phonetic approach).


On the other hand, phonics advocates say that most words are decodable, so comparatively few words have to be memorized. And because a child will over time encounter many low-frequency words, "the phonological recoding mechanism is a very powerful, indeed essential, mechanism throughout reading development".[58] Furthermore, researchers suggest that teachers who withhold phonics instruction to make it easier on children "are having the opposite effect" by making it harder for children to gain basic word-recognition skills. They suggest that learners should focus on understanding the principles of phonics so they can recognize the phonemic overlaps among words (e.g. have, had, has, having, haven't, etc.), making it easier to decode them all.[59][60][61] 041b061a72


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