Systematic phonics


Studies have been done comparing systematic phonics instruction with ‘hit or miss’ phonic instruction and these show that ‘any kind of well organized and efficient phonics instruction is better than little or no phonic instruction that leaves phonics to chance’. Systematic phonic programmes introduce phonemes in a series of steps. These usually begin with learning letter sounds, distinguishing between vowels and consonants, recognizing initial and final phonemes in regular consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words and introducing medial vowels. From this, simple CVC and CCVC words can be segmented and blended. Long vowels are then introduced. Different programmes may introduce consonant and vowel phonemes in different ways, but the 40-plus phonemes are introduced systematically.

Although the heart of a phonics programme is the systematic introduction of phonemes in a planned sequence, teachers also use the many planned (and unplanned) opportunities to teach and apply phonic lessons that occur throughout a broad literacy curriculum.