PhonicsInstruction Response to the National Reading Panel’s Report on Phonics Instruction Heather Porto & Aranita Davis
What is Phonics?The research used in the NRP’s Whether phonics instruction is report overwhelmingly states taught through whole language the importance of using or more explicit phonics, thesystematic phonics instruction important factor to remember isin order to gain the alphabetic that good reading instructionprinciple to decode new words includes some form of decoding efficiently and accurately practice (Stahl et al., 1998). (NICHD, 2000). Phonics is the method of instruction that teaches the systematic relationship between letters and combinations of letters in written language as well as how to use this understanding to read and write words (Honig, Diamond, & Gulohn, 2008).
What is Good Phonics Instruction?According to research done by Steven Stahl et al. (1998), good phonics instruction mustinclude the following:1. Good phonics instruction develops understanding of the alphabetic principle.2. Good phonics instruction develops phonological awareness.3. Good phonics instruction provides a thorough grounding in letters.4. Good phonics instruction leads to automatic word recognition.5. Good phonics instruction is part of a well-balanced reading program.
Approaches to Phonics InstructionThere is more than one approach to teaching phonics. The most common are described below (Honig, Diamond, & Gulohn, 2008).Synthetic PhonicsAccording to Honig, Diamond, & Gulohn (2008), “In this systematic and explicit approach,students learn how to transform letters and letter combinations into sounds and then blend(synthesize) the sounds together to form recognizable words.”Analogy PhonicsThe focus on the analogy approach to phonics is on the familiar rimes seen in words as well ashow to identify unfamiliar words using the same rime. They decode the unfamiliar word byidentifying the familiar rime then blending with the onset (Honig, Diamond, & Gulohn, 2008).Analytic PhonicsAccording to Honig, Diamond, & Gulohn (2008), “In this approach, instruction begins with theidentification of a familiar word. The teacher then introduces a particular sound/spellingrelationship within that familiar word.” EX: mat, fat, bag [same vowel sound]Embedded PhonicsThis approach is similar to the whole language approach in which instruction is embedded in theauthentic reading and writing the children are participating in. Phonics instruction is veryinformal.
Synthetic phonicsBelow is an example of a synthetic phonics lesson (9:09) focused on explicitly teaching the identification of letters and letter combinations as sounds, and the process of blending those sounds into words. http://www.wiki-teacher.com/resourceView.php?id=5306 *Important Note: Free account might be necessary to view this video.
Synthetic Programs: Emphasizes teaching student to convert letters into sounds, and then blend the sounds to form recognizable words Sounds are pronounced by each letter: Example: /c/a//t/ Teaching long vowels (oi, ea, ou) Teaching blends (ch, sh, th)
The problem usingsynthetic programs: Learning vowels and diagraphs are harder for children. Children need practice to apply the knowledge of reading and writing activities. Programs should provide a variety of ways to practice phonics application.
National Reading Panel Questions 1. Does teaching phonics systematically help children read effectively?2. Which phonics instructions are better to use – systematically or no phonics? 3. Should the phonics be taught in small group or individually? 4. When should phonics be introduced? 5. How does phonics instruction help struggling readers? 6. Is phonics instruction beneficial for children who have difficulty reading?
National Reading Panel Questions 7. Does phonics instruction improve children’s reading comprehension and word reading skills? 8. Does phonics instruction have an impact on children’s growth? 9. Is it effective with student’s from different SES levels?10. Were the studies that took place in larger areas contain a well designed phonics program?
How Were theResults Determined?By the end of the year after using the phonics program the effects of outcomes were measured on six types:1. Decoding regularly spelled real words2. Reading novel words in the form of psueudowords3. Regularly miscellaneous words some of which were irregular words4. Spelling Words5. Comprehending text read silently or orally6. Reading text accurately aloud
Findings of the National Reading Panel:Systematic and Explicit Phonics Instruction: Significantly improves students reading in Kindergarten and First Grade Significantly improves the students ability to understand [comprehend] what they are reading Benefits all students Can assist in preventing reading difficulties Benefits those students who struggle learning to read (Honig, Diamond, & Gulohn, 2008)
Continued Findings ofthe National Reading Panel:All phonics should be taught systematically!Students can be taught phonics using whole class approach, small groups, or individually as long as students used were taught using a systematic approach.Phonics instruction should begin in kindergarten, rather than waiting until first grade.Phonics instruction helps students who are at risk of having reading problems.
Continued Findings ofthe National Reading Panel:Systematic phonics improved students Spelling ability by 67%.Systematic phonics found to help first grade students but had shown very little difference amongst older students.Systematic phonics help make growth in students from all SES backgrounds.The control group included all types of phonics programs: basal approaches, regular curriculum, whole word programs, and miscellaneous programs.
Past Research Research Study on Phonics InstructionResearched Study: According to a study completed and analyzed byBlachman et al. (1999), a group of inner-city, low-income children in K-1 tookplace in a research study for two years.Process: The students began this program in kindergarten using a phonemicawareness program. They transitioned into first grade in which theyexperienced a more explicit, systematic phonics instruction.Findings: Based upon their findings, these students greatly benefited frommore explicit, systematic phonics instruction. At the end of the study, thestudents who participated in the phonemic awareness and explicit, systematicphonics instruction outperformed those who did not participate in theseprograms focused on spelling, letter name, letter sound knowledge, and wordrecognition (Blachman et al., 1999).
Past Research Research Study on Phonics InstructionResearched Study: According to a study by Bond, Ross, Smith, & Nunnery(1995), the sing, spell, read and write program was analyzed to determine theeffects on reading achievement of beginning readers.Process: The “Sing, Spell, Read and Write” program was designed for teachingreading for grades K through 3rd. The study analyzed the effects of the programin a large school district. These schools were also divided by the socioeconomicstatus, and were compared to other schools on the basis of socioeconomicstatus, race, and testing scores (Bond, Ross, Smith, & Nunnery, 1995).Findings: Based upon their findings, the study found that those students whoparticipated in the SSRW showed some growth over the basal approach forteaching phonics. Once the language became more complex; however, SSRWwas not as effective.
Past Research Whole Language Approach vs. Direct Instruction of Phonics Whole Language Approach Explicit, Systematic Phonics Approach According to Dahl et al. (1999), “…thewhole language advocates view phonics A systematic, explicit phonics as one of the cueing systems that instruction focuses on the individual children use, along with the syntactic, sounds in words as well as blendingsemantic, and pragmatic information, those sounds into word pronunciations. during reading and writing.” The This approach is very different thanWhole Language Approach emphasizes whole language as whole languagethe application strategy in reading and often approaches phonics instruction writing (Dahl et al., 1999). This informally, or as it arises. Explicitapproach is similar, if not identical, to phonics instruction has a clear goal and the embedded phonics approach. purpose in mind for the learning objectives.
For Future Growth in Phonics- Determine what parts of the systematic program is essential. Using the phonics to that will motivate the students to learn, instead of giving meaningless worksheets. Decodable text help students establish the relationships taught during phonics.