• The following information explains some generalizations for phonics as well as providing definitions for terms and acronyms.  

     
    Important notes about our English Language: 
     
    • There are 26 letters in the alphabet, which can make 44 sounds in our language, those sounds are used in more than 200 ways to write the sounds! (There are exceptions to each phonics rule, which makes reading and writing very complicated skills.)

    • Spoken language vs. written language:  spoken language is much easier to use due to the ability for reciprocal talk, observing body language, the ability to stop and ask what a word means, speaking without having to worry how to spell the words you want to say, the use of prosody - inflection - rate - pace.  Spoken language is developed from the moment we are born.  We hear sounds and words which we come to learn and understand.  Written language incorporates many rules that must be taught.  Capitalization, grammar, punctuation, spacing, handwriting, phonics, mechanics, vocabulary, word usage...need to be specifically taught and practiced.
     

    First Graders are taught these skills first as foundational skills.  Phonics skills are taught in order of complexity.

     

    Short vowels:  When there is one vowel in a word, the vowel says it’s short sound.  

    (the vowel can be at the beginning or the middle of a word)


    CVC:  CVC is an acronym that stands for “consonant - vowel - consonant.”  Using the term CVC reminds the students that the vowel has two consonants on either side.  It teaches the student to look closely at letters.  CVC words are those words where the vowel makes the short sound (i.e. bog, tip, cut, wax, yum).


    * prompting children to recognize phonics rules promotes their ability to decode larger words.  


    The symbol / /:  This symbol is used to demonstrate the sound a letter or letters say.  For example the letter “x” makes the sound /ks/.  The letter “s” can make the sound /s/ or /z/.  


    Final -ck:  The letters -ck stand for the /k/ sound.


    Final -x:  (written  -x to show there are letters preceding the “x”)  The letter -x at the end of a word usually stands for the sound /ks/.


    -s Plurals:  The letter “s” is used at the end of a word to demonstrate “more than one.”

    “Ending -s” can stand for /s/ or /z/.


    Inflected Ending -s:  Inflected ending -s, can stand for /s/ or /z/.  Examples for the difference between -s plurals and inflected ending -s are; cats vs runs, birds vs jumps - for cats - there is more than one cat….for runs - adding the -s means it is happening right now.


    Initial Blends:  Consonant blends consist of two or more consonants, at the beginning of a word, blended together when pronouncing a word (both letter sounds are heard when articulated).  For example; flip, drag, snug, stop….. (* each of these words has only 1 vowel, which makes the vowel say it’s short sound)


    Final Blends:  Consonant blends  consist of two or more letters, at the end of a word, blended together when pronouncing a word (both letter sounds are heard when articulated).  For example; jump, cast, nest, sink… (* each of these words has only 1 vowel, which makes the vowel say it’s short sound)

     
     
    ** I compare blends to "cereal and milk" - cereal and milk are put together, however you can still see each part, and you can take them apart...just like you put two consonants together, however you can still hear each part.