How Can We Prevent Students From Falling Behind in Reading?

reading with phonics

Educators are surprised and disappointed that reading test scores continue to drop. State governments, like Arizona, are reacting to financial pressures and low scores by adopting strict grade advancement policies. And parents are looking for other educational alternatives like online, charter, or home school options.

The fix isn’t simple. The answer is.

Phonics instruction was adopted in 2000 by the National Reading Panel as the correct way to teach students reading. Many educators and teachers still oppose and are reluctant to adopt these findings. However you weigh in – the truth is that when phonics instruction is applied with fidelity, it works. Test scores increase and students gain confidence.

Explicit Phonics Instruction

Phonics can be taught implicitly or explicitly. Implicit phonics instruction begins with a whole word and looks at beginning sounds, ending sounds, and context clues. Explicit phonics instruction does the reverse: incorporating blending and building from a single letter to a word. Explicit phonics instruction is essential for students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities.

Sight words are taught from a linguistic standpoint rather than through rote memorization. This type of instruction addresses and teaches phonological awareness, phonological decoding, phonological encoding, phonological recording, print awareness, semantics, syntax, and segmentation. Additionally, it teaches language-based skills such as handwriting, spelling, directional tracking, language arts, listening, and thinking skills.

Systematic Phonics InstructionThe goal of systematic phonics instruction is to give students the knowledge required to analyze and identify just about any word they encounter-even to the point of deciphering and reading words they have never seen before!

1 Comment

  • Rebecca Bravo

    I have two daughters in grade school. I frequently use Reading Horizons to reinforce instruction in phonics at home. It works! As I observe them with their studies I hear them say "I before E except after C," or "if the A says its name there is an E at the end (such as rAke).
    I am also an 8th grade special education teacher and I constantly use Reading Horizons with my students and refer parents to the sight for the free/sample tutorials. My students have had a hard time spelling, reading and obviously comprehension. As I introduce the strategies to my students for some it is a "new phenomenon" that makes sense. Sight words are great when reading however in writing it takes more than memorization - students need to learn and sharpen these skills to continue to progress academically and throughout life.

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Jan 13 2012

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