The International Literacy Association’s Guide On How To Teach Phonics

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A key aspect of becoming a fluent reader is to learn phonics. Phonics is the study of the relationship between sounds and letters. Until children know that letters in the alphabet represent sounds of spoken language, they cannot make or read words. 

Once they know what letter makes what sound, they can read words fluently. Hence, phonics is a critical component of the literacy program, and teachers should know the best approaches to teach children phonics.

International Literacy Association

The International Literacy Association (ILA) continues to educate teachers on how to instruct children effectively. Similarly, it has provided guidelines to teachers on how to guide children on phonics. If you are a teacher, continue reading, and you may learn something valuable.

Phonological Awareness

Before teaching phonics to children, make sure that students already have print awareness and phonological awareness. Also, make sure they understand the concepts of words, text, the alphabet, and the basics of how language works.

Analytic and Synthetic Activities

Most teachers realize the importance of both analytic and synthetic activities when teaching phonics. Therefore, they incorporate both types of activities. 

In analytic instruction, children learn to identify patterns in words and apply them to make new words. In synthetic phonics, students learn the sounds of letters and use them individually to form new words.

Word Study

Another approach to teaching phonics is word study. It helps increase familiarity with words by asking students to trace and write letters, what sounds do letters make, etc. In word study, students learn to match single letters or pairs of letters to specific sounds and form new words by doing so. 

This process should be used according to the development of students. Teachers and parents should understand that the pace of instructions varies for individuals and that not all students can learn the same skills simultaneously.

Teaching Phonics To Multilingual Students

Bilingual and multilingual students will apply what they know from other languages into the new language that they are learning. They will make comparisons and pick out similarities and differences. For instance, a student who knows English but is learning Spanish would not know that the letter “h” is silent in Spanish, and they might pronounce the sound of the letter “h” while speaking Spanish. 

The comparison with another language may help some cases and increase the speed of learning that new language. Regardless, teachers should give explicit phonics instructions so that students who are learning English can learn unfamiliar sounds, pronunciations, and letter-sound correspondence.

Concluding Thoughts

Phonics is one of the critical components of a literacy program and should be given ample time and thorough instruction. The ILA brief provides useful guidelines for teachers on how to do this effectively.

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