Phonics Steps

As we stated on our Keys to Success page, phonics instruction must be systematic and sequential. In other words, letters and sounds are taught first. Then letters are combined to make words and finally words are used to construct sentences.

To make things easier for you, we have detailed the process in eight easy to understand steps. The steps are briefly outlined below. To see the details of each step, please use the side bar links. We recommend that you read through the entire process [each detailed step] before you begin working with your child or student. If you have a good overview of the process, it will be much easier for you to select methods of implementing the steps that fit your reader’s learning style.

*NOTE: Although the steps are introduced individually in a specific sequence, they are not taught in isolation. Instead, they are taught in clusters. For example, Cluster 1 includes Steps 1-4. The steps are introduced one at a time, but they are quickly combined to make practice more productive and real. Once you begin reviewing the steps, you will better understand how this works.

For those of you who are working with struggling readers, we recommend that you follow the suggestions above in order to gain a better understanding of the phonic method. Then, you can use your knowledge of each of the Phonics Steps to help you identify the gaps in your student’s phonics foundation. If you need help identifying weak areas, we recommend that you use a basic phonics handbook such as A Handbook for Reading or Noah Webster’s Reading Handbook [see our Links page for publishing information.]

Phonics Steps in Sequence (Brief Outline)

Cluster 1:
Step 1:Introduce the vowels and their short sounds. [Chart 1]
Step 2:Introduce the consonants and their sounds. [Chart 2]
Step 3:Begin blending short vowels with consonants. [Chart 3]
Step 4:Begin blending and reading one vowel words and short sentences. [Chart 4]

Cluster 2:
Step 5:Introduce the long vowel sounds. [Chart 5]
Step 6:Practice blending long vowels with consonants. [Chart 6]

Cluster 3:
Step 7:Begin blending and reading two vowel words and Introduce two special rules. [Charts 7 A, B]
Rule #1: The One Vowel Rule Rule #2: The Two Vowel Rule
Step 8:Introduce the Phonics Charts which include the special sounds that are made when letters “stick”
together. [Charts 8-17]

To begin your phonics adventure, please click on the link for Step 1.