Phonics

Phonics is a way of reading where students associate letters and letter patterns with the sounds they represent. First students learn what each letter sounds like on its own ("a as in apple"), and later they learn to recognize patterns ("sh as in fish" or "tion" as in "action").

Teaching phonics is relatively new in Japan, and most of the commercial resources approach phonics as something taught all at once and then stopped. This is useless and boring. It is better to teach phonics as a daily warm-up, developing it gradually, along with other aspects of the English learning experience.

In order for our students to have a working knowledge of phonics, they need to learn the names of the letters, short and long vowels, digraphs, diphthongs, R-controlled words, blending, and segmentation.

  • Blending is the act of combining phonics sounds together. In order to make a word out of two phonic sounds, you need to practice making the shape of the mouth for both of the phonic sounds, and you also need to practice transitioning between them.
  • Segmentation is the act of recognizing the phonic parts of a word. The basic unit of segmentation is the syllable. The next unit level is the word. And then the next unit level is the grammar construction.
  • Syllables have a close relationship with rhythm. Children are often taught to segment words into syllables by clapping and so forth. Poetry and singing are both good ways to develop syllable recognition.

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See also

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