How best to help students learn phonics? Now that’s a question that can get a lot of teachers going.
I personally can’t imagine teaching or learning phonics in the mind-numbing way I’ve sometimes seen it used in classrooms. I believe some explicit phonics instruction is useful, though I’ve only done so inductively. I’ve described how I do that in some detail in my book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work.
Today, however, I thought I’d bring together a few limited resources, and hope that readers will make additional suggestions (I know that there are many articles out there). I’ve divided this list into two parts — the first section shares links to some useful articles for teachers to read, while the second section contains links to websites where students can practice phonics in an engaging way for a short time as practice.
Here are my choices for The Best Articles & Sites For Teachers & Students To Learn About Phonics:
Scott Thornbury has recently written a short post giving an overview of some of the issues involved in phonics instruction. In addition, if you scroll down in the comments section, Stephen Krashen provides what I consider to be exceptional commentary and includes some important links.
Professor Brian Cambourne has a good article in the Sydney Morning Herald headlined The sound and the fury about making sense of written words.
Professor Cambourne has also written another article titled See hear.
I really like Sounds Easy: Phonics, Spelling and Pronunciation Practice by Sharron Bassano. As the title suggests, it’s more than just phonics instruction. Also, even though it’s not included in the book, it’s easy to convert the exercises into more higher-order categorization activities, too. This is the resource I have adapted for teaching phonics inductively. It’s on The Best Books For Teaching & Learning ESL/EFL list.
The Backseat Linguist has a nice commentary on a recent study about phonics. It raises important questions, especially in light of some who claim the study prove phonics is the way to go.
The Backseat Linguist shares some intriguing points about phonics instruction.
I have an extensive list of interactive phonics sites on my student website.
I’m especially impressed with ABC Fast Phonics.
Reading Bear is a new free interactive site for teaching beginning readers through the use of phonics in a relatively engaging way. It doesn’t appear that registration is necessary, and they say it will remain free. It’s from Watch Know Learn, the well-respected and well-known educational video site.
Phonics: The Sounds Of English is a very impressive interactive from The BBC.
Of course, you’ll want to check out one of my most popular “The Best…” lists, The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers.
Again, I know there are plenty of other resources out there — please leave suggestions in the comments section.
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You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.