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Provide Structured Phonics Instruction to Improve Fluency


ELA: Reading Elementary School Strategy


Auditory Processing

Provide Structured Phonics Instruction to Improve Fluency

If your student's reading fluency is below grade level

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Use systematic phonics instruction for students who are behind grade level with decoding.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: a) Many schools use whole-language programs to teach reading. However, if you are concerned about a student's reading, a 2-3 year structured phonics program might be necessary. b) Phonics-based reading programs blend the full array of sounds together to read and understand words. c) A planned, sequential introduction of phonics elements is essential followed by practice, teaching, and ongoing reinforcement. d) Systematic phonics instruction is most effective through one-to-one tutoring. However, it can be effective in small groups and full classroom instruction with adherence to the structured program.
  3. Phonics-Based Programs a) For students with reading disabilities, consider a multi-sensory Orton-Gillingham-based program: Wilson Reading System, PAF, or Lindamood-Bell. b) Widely used school programs include Reading Recovery, Open Court, and Reading Mastery (DISTAR). c) Supplemental computer-based programs and apps can be helpful in supporting phonics development.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Phonemic awareness and phonics are shown to be foundational skills for reading fluency and comprehension. Phonemic awareness and letter knowledge are the two best school-entry predictors of how well students will read during the first two years of school (Share, Jorm, Maclean & Matthews 1984). While it is estimated that less than 50% of students will learn to read without systematic phonics instruction, highlighting the importance of systematic teaching of phonics. Phonics programs vary in their approach using synthetic phonics, analytic phonics, embedded phonics, analogy phonics, onset-rime phonics, and phonics through spelling or some combination. In general, structured phonics might account for approximately 10-15% of reading time, compared to the approximately 2-3% of time spent on phonics in whole-language programs. Phonics should not be the only, or even dominant, component in a reading program. You can learn more about the studies on the efficacy of structured phonics programs from the report of the National Reading Panel 2000.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Long-Term Memory, Short-Term Memory, Processing Speed (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)