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Teacher Created Materials: The Phonics Connection, part 2

by Gio Panizzon


If you missed Part 1, read it here!


Strategy Two: Connecting phonics to real books


Once students understand sound/symbol relationships, the next step is to guide them to understand that these relationships are in interesting and entertaining books. Imagine teaching the /p/ sound. Now, chase down a copy of Kevin Henkes’ Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and read it to the class. A great addition is to make a purple purse out of construction paper. Have students find objects in the classroom that start with the /p/ sound and place them in the purse. A pencil, a piece of paper, a pen, and a paperclip will all do nicely. It will be the rare student who forgets the “p” sound/symbol connection after meeting Lilly and her purse.


Strategy Three: Reading books that clearly feature learned sound/symbol relationships


Students now are well on their way to having the phonic process nicely under control. The final strategy for making the process real is to have students read books that clearly and consistently feature the sound/symbol relationships being taught. Targeted Phonics developed by Teacher Created Material is an excellent resource. Let’s make believe our old friend the silent “e” (or magic, fairy, or bossy “e” if you prefer) is being taught to help students better deal with the long /a/sound. Give students the Targeted Phonics storybook Late Kate and guide them through it. They will quickly see the silent “e” rule works for them. This final step clearly shows students that not only do they know sound/symbol connections, but also they can read real books—fun books—because they know these connections.


Phonics can be a challenging, abstract process for young learners.  Powerful words, real books, and real reading are three easy and important strategies for creating students who understand and successfully use phonic skills.


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