A Great Phonics Lesson Decoded!

Your school has bought or created a synthetic phonics program. It provides a scope and sequence for all teachers to follow. You have some high quality resources at your disposal and you know the principles of synthetic phonics instruction. The question is: what does an effective phonics lesson look like? This blog aims to shed […]

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Oral Blending and Segmenting – Before Letters, There Were Sounds!

The best teachers of reading start by teaching oral blending and segmenting skills first: lessening the cognitive load on children and making the leap to reading and spelling with letters all the easier! 

Learning Support Teacher, Shirley Houston, explains oral blending and segmenting and gives you the step-by-step ‘how to’.  Plus, you’ll find heaps of free resources included! 

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How to Teach Vowel Teams

Vowel teams are probably the most common source of reading and spelling errors as one vowel sound may be represented by as many as 6 different vowel teams (e.g. long ‘o’ represented by ‘oa’, ‘ow’, ‘oe’, ‘o_e,’ ‘ough’ and ‘ew’ as in sew). There are 25 standard vowel teams and, consequently, it is vital that […]

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Pronouncing the Sounds; Not as Easy as You Might Think

The first step in teaching a systematic Synthetic Phonics programme is to teach the sounds which is by far, the easiest step for children to make. However, if the sounds are pronounced incorrectly it can make the next step, which is blending for reading, all the harder. It’s worth the time and effort to ensure […]

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The Phonics Check: Who, What, Where, How…

This week the Australian Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, announced the intention to roll out a phonics check in Australia. QLD and WA have already dug their heels in and said ‘not on our watch’, whereas SA and NSW are applauding the announcement. It will come as no surprise to you that here, at Phonics Hero, […]

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What is a Schwa and How to Teach It

What is the most common vowel sound in the English language? If you said long or short /e/, you are wrong. The most common vowel letter is ‘e’ but the most common vowel sound is the sound /uh/ (like the sound someone makes when trying to think of a word). It sounds like the short […]

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Should I Teach Upper or Lower Case Letters First?

I’ve been asked if you should teach upper or lower letters first, a few times recently, so in this month’s blog post I’ll address the debate and the impact of your choice on reading and spelling. I’ll also make recommendations for best teaching practice. The Argument for Teaching Upper Case First The ‘upper case first’ […]

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Getting Physical with Phonics

There are so many ways to make phonics fun and interactive. If you can get children outside and moving, you get phonics practise plus: fresh air, active kids and it’s a hit with the boys – win, win, win! Here are some ideas: Soak the Sound! Laminate letters and stick them around the playground. You […]

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Phonics Assessment: Don’t Assume – Assess!

It is the beginning of a new school year, after a school holiday of 6-8 weeks. Have you decided what you are going to start teaching in the area of phonics? Have you thought of the phonics assessment you will conduct this year? One of the great features of Phonics Hero is that it provides […]

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Fluency: Why it’s Important and How to Develop it

The ‘Big 6’ essential components of reading instruction are oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Unfortunately, fluency is often a relatively neglected component in reading programs. Teachers and parents neglect fluency at their peril, as there is a strong correlation between…

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