Phonics screeners and strategies for struggling students
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Phonics Screeners and Strategies for Struggling Students. South Todd Elementary February 6, 2013 Betsy Madison. Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. Phonemic Awareness vs. Phonological Awareness Phonological Awareness =

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Phonics Screeners and Strategies for Struggling Students

South Todd Elementary

February 6, 2013

Betsy Madison

Lets make sure were all on the same page

Phonemic Awareness vs. Phonological Awareness

Phonological Awareness =

  • the ability to recognize the sounds of spoken language and how they can be segmented, blended, and manipulated.

  • includes awareness at the phoneme level, syllable level, word level, and sentence level

    Phonemic Awareness =

  • awareness at the level of a single unit of sound, regardless of the number of letters in the sound (/m/ in made, /th/ in thing, /dge/ in bridge)

Phonological Awareness vs. Phonics

Phonological Awareness =

  • sound only, listening to sounds and producing sounds without print

    Phonics =

  • Phonological Awareness + letters

  • Vowels were something else. He didn't like them, and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel. Consonants, you knew pretty much where they stood, but you could never trust a vowel. Jerry Spinelli

Phonics Continuum

  • Consonant letter/sound correspondence (K)

  • Letter names (K)

  • Vowel letter/sound correspondence (K)

  • CVC words/short vowel (1)

  • Onset & Rime/short vowel (1)

    • Onset = initial consonant

    • Rime = vowel and rest of the word

  • Long vowel/silent e (1)

  • Endings (suffixes: ed, ing, etc) (1)

In middle school language, a digraph is a pair of married letters. Theyre stuck togethercant be separatedmake a whole new sound.


Hey Betsy!

Whats a digraph?

  • Consonant digraphs (beginning & ending)(1)

    • 2 consonants together that represent a single sound (th, ch, sh, etc)

  • Consonant blends (beginning & ending)(1)

    • 2 consonants together that each retain their individual sounds (bl, tr, tw, etc)

  • Letter/Sound variations & generalizations(1)

    • (kn, gn, ght, etc)

Back to middle school languageA blend is two or three letters who are just going out. They can separate and be by themselves or even get together with a different letter. They hang out, but keep their own sound.


Hey Betsy!

Whats a blend?

  • Long vowel digraphs (1)

    • 2 vowels that make 1 sound, when 2

      vowels go walking (ee, ea, ao, ie, ai, etc)

  • Other vowel digraphs (2)

    • (bread, friend, audience)

  • Vowel diphthongs (2)

    • vowel sound produced when the tongue moves or glides from one vowel sound toward another vowel sound in the same syllable (house, voice)

  • R or L controlled vowels(2)

    • An 'r' or l sound following a vowel sound

      almost always distorts the vowel, making

      such words harder to spell (car, bird, corn,

      walk, tall, etc)

  • Multi-syllabic words(2)

You should suspect Phonics problems

  • if a student, after second grade, belabors decoding.

  • if a student, after first grade, does not correctly read short vowel syllables.

  • if a student, after second grade, does not correctly read long vowel syllables.

  • if a student, after second grade, reads very slowly.

  • if a student, after second grade, is having difficulty with comprehension after reading independently.

  • if a student, after second grade, cannot break a multi-syllabic word into syllables.

  • AFTER you have screened for


Phonics Screeners

  • Phonics Screen

  • Phonics Mastery Survey

  • Words Their Way Spelling Inventory

Lets Practice

  • Number your paper from 1-25, skipping a line.

  • I will say the word, say a sentence, then say the word again.

  • Spell the word the best you can. If you dont know how to spell the whole word, write the letters you hear.

  • (please make some errors you would expect your students to make)

Lets Score

  • Find Katies PSI and Feature Guide

  • Exchange papers with a table-mate

  • Score your neighbors paper

  • What do I do now?

  • On-line tool kit


For all students:

  • KDE Phonics Instructional Menu

  • Florida Center for Reading Research

  • Words Their Way Word Study

Strategies for Older Students

  • Month-by-Month Phonics for Upper Grades (Cunningham & Hall)

    • High frequency words

    • Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

    • Roots, Prefixes, Suffixes

  • Syllabication Study (See Appendix A)

Syllable Continuum

  • Closed

    • Syllable with a short vowel spelled with a single vowel, ending in a consonant (cat, talk-ed, mis-take)

  • V-C-e

    • Syllable with a long vowel spelled with

      1 vowel + 1 consonant + silent e (safe, price, a-live)

  • Open

    • Syllable that ends with a long vowel sound spelled with a single vowel letter (hi, pro-ceed, ta-ble)

  • Vowel Team

    • Syllables that use two to four letters to spell the vowel (beau-ti-ful, train-er, spoil-age)

  • Vowel r

    • Syllables with er, ir, or, ar, or ur; vowel pronunciation usually changes before the /r/ (char-ter, car-toon, per-fume)

  • Consonant le

    • Unaccented final syllable with a consonant before /l/ followed by a silent e (little, loveable, triangle)

Phonics Intervention

  • Screen to find holes

  • Choose developmentally appropriate materials

  • Explicit modeling

  • Give many opportunities for practice (reading and writing) including nonsense words

  • Teach small, discrete steps

  • Assess in isolation AND in combination with mastered skills on the Phonics Continuum

    • If student isnt responding.

    • Slow down

    • Repeat

  • When first practicing a Phonics rule, do not use similar words. Students dont know which rule to focus on. It must be explicit.

  • ExCVC words:

    • vasecathouse rain

  • Ex Short a words:

    • dogcatrunpine

  • Later, use similar words.

  • ExLong I words

    • liverainlinepick

Considerations for Older Students

  • Be respectful of students fears

  • Dont use baby-work

  • Consider doing this intensive intervention out of the general classroom

  • Move to real text, for practice, as quickly as possible (high interest-low readability books)

Need [email protected]

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