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Phonics Skill Overview


What is it?

Phonics helps readers to sound out or "decode" unfamiliar words. It involves learning about the sounds that letters make. More importantly, phonics involves learning about the sound or sounds that combinations of letters make (such as "tch" in match). 

What is its purpose?

Understanding the link between letters and their sounds can help readers with an unfamiliar word that has a similar pattern. Many good readers look for familiar patterns in new words as they read. For example, if a reader knew the word catch, but did not know fetch, they could use what they know about "tch" in catch to help them sound out fetch.

Phonics also helps readers make the connection between a word they have "heard" before with that same word in a story. If you know that "tch" makes the /ch/ sound, but didn't know the word fetch, you could use phonics to help you. 

Strong phonics skills help readers in many areas of reading and writing - understanding the story (comprehension), reading smoothly (fluency), building vocabulary and improved spelling skills.

How will these skill activities help?

For McFeeglebee's Pond, we have two phonic sound patterns - The Silent "e" Activity and the Double Vowel Activity. Vowel rules can be the trickiest part of the English language to learn and understand. 

The Silent "e" Activity

Luckily, the silent "e" rule is fairly consistent. Usually, when a word ends with a silent "e", it makes the vowel in the middle of the word a long vowel (the vowel "says its name"). Because this is a fairly consistent rule, once learned, it will hopefully be used by a reader to help sound out unfamiliar words.

The Double Vowel Activity

Most double vowels in a word ("ea" in beach, for example) follow a recognizable pattern. The first vowel is a long vowel sound and the other vowel is silent. Did you ever hear your teacher give this hint for remembering the double vowel rule: When two vowels go walking the first one does the talking?

Here are some links to learn more about Phonics:

Sites on phonics rules: 


List of books about Phonics


A site based on the California Content Standards. It gives some helpful ideas and explains some reading terminology.