K-2 Literacy" Look Fors" - Part II Phonics Edition

Literacy learning is a wide spectrum that is not linear. Research shows literacy is made up of six components. When students come to you they may fall anywhere on this unbelievably large pie chart of components.

What makes literacy so complex is that multiple skills are happening simultaneously. As I've stated in previous posts, children will come to us at varying levels of  literacy learning. It is our job to meet them where they are and guide them in the direction they need to go. It will look different for each child. We can't even toy with the notion that this makes them "high" or "low" or "good" or "bad". We just have to approach this task with the knowledge of the literacy spectrum.  

 Phonics "Look Fors" - Phonics Continuum & Practices

Phonics is the study of letters, sounds and letter patterns.  In homes where children are exposed to texts,  conversation is valued, and education is priority, oral language and text knowledge will be present (Unless there is a neurological difference present) .  This makes it easy to begin and move through the phonics continuum quickly. It is easiest for young children to begin learning the letters in their name first. What's great about having a whole class working on the letters in their name is that they are are also being exposed to the letters in their friends' names and their knowledge multiplies.

Moving through letter recognition will be a smooth transition for most. They will move quickly through identification, sound connection and CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) word building For those who need more time, individual or small group instruction should begin immediately.

There is research to both prove, and disprove that there is a certain order in which you should teach letter recognition. I've found from personal experience that there is no one way to teach letter recognition (or anything for that  matter). There are a few key methods that will assist in long term recognition, though.

1. Start with easy uppercase common letters that are seen frequently; letters like T,N,S,R, H,D,L, A,E,I,O,U, C,M, F, etc. Notice vowels can be taught after 6-7 uppercase letters are learned. You can then start introducing color words in lowercase letters. They learn all words have vowels and they begin connecting uppercase and lower case letters.

2. Make sure that the letters are being introduced in more than one way and as many areas of learning as possible. You can sing them, write them, and create with them!

Follow Tara Looney's board Phonics/ Letter Learning on Pinterest.

3. Letter learning needs to be apart of your daily routine. The Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers in my district have adopted the phonics dance because it changes with their growing process. Even after learning all the letter names, it progresses to  vowels, vowel patterns and blends & digraphs and more!

The project I mention in Part I of the "Look Fors" Series will include data collection tools, small group or individual lesson planning sheets, If... and Then... charts, and resources to add to your teacher tool kit on all six literacy components.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below.


Popular Posts