What is Phonics?
Simply put, phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds in language. Your child's phonics instruction started in kindergarten, with them learning CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words by the end of the year. Words such as hat, cat, and pot are all CVC words.
CVC words are just the beginning. The bulk of phonics instruction is done in first grade. Students usually learn consonant blends (gl, tr, cr), consonant digraphs (sh, ch, th), short vowels, final e, long vowels, r-controlled vowels, and diphthongs. From second grade on up, phonics continues to build fluency and teach multisyllabic words.
Phonics is the building block to reading. While most people think "sounding it out" will help to decode words, sounding a word out doesn't always work! Once you know the rules, you can help quite a bit. So learn the basics. Not only will you be helping your child, but you'll finally understand what the teacher is talking about! When you are reading with your child you may want to help your young reader decode words using sayings we use in class to support phonics development.
Here are some basic phonics rules to keep in mind as your child learns to read:
A vowel followed by a consonant is short.
Consonant/vowel/consonant (CVC pattern)
log cat sit
An open, accented vowel is long.
no me I go
A vowel followed by a consonant and a silent e is long. The e is silent.
It makes the vowel say it’s name (creepy, silent e).
name hope like
K and C Spelling Rules
k before e, i, or y (keg, kid, milky)
c before a, o, u, and any consonant (cat, cot, cut, clip, crop)
Final /k/ Spelling Rules
ck after a short vowel (black, lock)
k after a consonant or a vowel digraph (milk, look)
ke after a long vowel (cake, bike)
c at the end of a word with two or more syllables (traffic, specific)
Floss Rule (Syllables)
When a one-syllable root word has a short vowel sound followed by the sound /f/, /l/, /s/, it is usually spelled ff, ll, ss, zz. (buzz, fuss, pill, puff)
Final /v/ Spelling Rule
When a word has the final sound /v/, it is spelled ve. (glove, five)
Final /s/ Spelling Rules
ss after a short vowel (kiss, mess)
ce after a long vowel (ice, face)
se after anything else (false, choose)
Adding a Consonant Suffix
To spell a word with a consonant suffix, just add the suffix to the end of the root word.
(i.e., bright → brightly)
Adding a Vowel Suffix -Dropping Rule
When a word ends with a silent e, drop the e before adding a vowel suffix.
(i.e., race → racing)
Adding a Vowel Suffix -Doubling Rule
When the final syllable of a word is accented and ends with one vowel and one consonant, double the final consonant before adding a vowel suffix. (i.e., swim → swimming)
J & G Spelling Rule
j before a, o, or u (jaguar, juggle)
g before e, i, or y (gerbil, giraffe)
Final /ch/ Spelling Rules
tch after a short vowel (patch, ditch)
ch after anything else (church, punch)
Final /j/ Spelling Rule
dge after a short vowel (badge, ridge)
ge after anything else (cage, range)