Online Phonics Curriculum
In the reading skills pyramid, a visual illustration of the process kids go through when learning to read, phonics follows closely behind phonemic awareness. Once children understand that letters have associated sounds, they begin to make relationships between those sounds and spelling. This is the skill that helps beginning readers decode — or sound out — new words. The key elements of reading are:
Phonics teaches young learners how to read letters or groups of letters by saying their corresponding sounds. In other words, when they see the word “rat” the letter “r” sounds like rrrr when we say it.
Once students grasp the alphabet, and know the sound each letter represents they continue on to blend these letter-sound pairings together to read a word. They can then distinguish between similar sounds (e.g. “three,” “free,” and “tree), and phonics success is just around the corner. An effective homeschool phonics curriculum will involve frequent reinforcement and review of these skills.
Time4Learning’s systematic phonics lesson plans are part of an integrated reading and language arts program. Our animated characters will engage your student while building a solid reading foundation.
Why is Teaching Phonics Important?
A successful phonics program moves early readers from phonemic awareness to being able to decode new words. This important skill also links students to the next phase of reading: comprehension. These building blocks are all part of the reading skills pyramid.
Phonemic awareness involves the understanding of the relationship between sounds and words. It explains how words are made of sounds that can be used, like reusable building blocks, to construct words (h + at = hat, f + at = fat, etc). Phonics goes one step further by connecting those sounds to written symbols. It involves learning how letters or letter groups represent unique sounds, and how those sounds are blended to form a word.
Learning phonics begins as early as ages 2-4 when children begin learning their “ABCs.” Kindergarten is traditionally when students begin learning the letter-sound connections. Phonics instruction usually continues throughout early elementary, though.
In short, learning phonics is important because it will help children:
- Learn how to properly pronounce words
- Learn how to properly spell words
- Improve reading skills and efficiency
- Improve reading fluency (text accuracy and speed)
- Improve reading comprehension
Phonics Curriculum Overview
Phonics curriculum usually starts with teaching letters, slowly creating a working knowledge of the alphabet. Children learn the sounds of each letter by associating it with the word that starts with that sound. Phonics skills grow through reading activities, and students learn to distinguish between vowels and consonants and understand letter combinations such as blends and digraphs.
Teaching phonics builds on previously learned skills:
- Understanding the alphabet
- Knowing that words are made up of sounds which can be changed to create new words: h + at = hat, c + at = cat
- Distinguishing between similar sounds: “three,” “free” and “tree”
Phonics success comes by progressing through these skills carefully with frequent reinforcement and review.
Pre-Reading Activities for Students
Parents can do a variety of reading activities with their child to enhance a phonics curriculum. In fact, the more involved you are with your child’s reading progress, the more likely they are to become a successful reader. Some pre-reading activities you can do with your child include:
- Reading aloud to your child as often as possible
- Showing your child the letters of the alphabet
- Spelling their name on paper and sounding it out for them
- Encourage your preschooler to pay attention to the sounds in words, and making language a game
- Singing songs and nursery rhymes together while showing them the matching words on the page
- Telling your child stories and letting them tell stories to you, as well
Discover more about Time4Learning’s preschool language arts curriculum.
From Pre-Reading to Early Reading
By the end of kindergarten, students should know the letters and their corresponding sounds. Your homeschool phonics program should use reading activities that will help your student identify words that begin with the same sounds and reinforce letter recognition. Use reading activities that show your child the difference between upper and lowercase letters.
Be careful not to push your kindergartener too hard. While most children follow the same sequence of acquiring literacy skills, they do so at their own pace. Your phonics curriculum should recognize that all children are different, and cater to your child’s learning style.
Discover more about Time4Learning’s kindergarten language arts curriculum.
Advanced Online Phonics Program for 1st and 2nd Graders
After they’ve gained phonemic awareness and early phonics skills, students move even closer to learning to read. With Time4Learning, 1st graders begin learning phonics online by translating syllables into words and focusing on phonetic spelling strategies. In 2nd grade, students advance their phonics knowledge by decoding multisyllabic words and recognizing word roots, prefixes and suffixes.
From preschool to 2nd grade, Time4Learning’s phonics reading program uses reading activities and fun interactive games to teach and reinforce. Children learn at their own pace in a safe, supportive environment designed to build on their foundation of pre-phonics skills and lead to reading for understanding and comprehension.
Why Choose Time4Learning’s Phonics Curriculum?
While a phonics curriculum is a critical step in learning to read, many parents and educators forget that before you can succeed with a phonics curriculum, you must teach phonemic and phonological awareness. Time4Learning makes sure that phonics instruction:
- Builds on a foundation of phonemic awareness
- Is integrated into an overall reading program
- Focuses more on reading words than on “learning rules”
- Takes place in a fun, online, and animated learning environment
Time4Learning can be used for homeschool, after-school or summer learning and is a great way to start young learners off on the right foot. Kids love the funny sound effects and quirky cartoon characters delivering the material.
Animated, interactive lessons feel more like video games than learning exercises. Plus, the student-paced nature of the program teaches them how to work independently, giving them a sense of ownership over their progress, which is a great motivator.