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What is Basic, Systematic Phonics? Are Most Children being Taught Basic Phonics Rules?

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Basic Phonics rules can only be correctly taught within the structure of a complete Explicit Systematic Phonics Curriculum?  Explicit Systematic Phonics is the direct and explicit teaching of the major sound/symbol relationships in a specific and clearly defined sequence. 


Does all that sound complicated?  It doesn’t have to be.  This is because Candy 4way Phonics makes it possible for parents to learn and to teach  their child, one step at a time, all the major sound/symbol relationships, including consonants, blends, short and long vowels, consonant and vowel digraphs, diphthongs, and variant sound-symbol relationships. 


Why do public school teachers insist that they are teaching phonics?  I mean, don’t they teach word families, and isn’t that the same as systematic phonics?


To answer that question, let me begin by repeating a comment I received from a mother who wrote:   

“I purchased some easy-to-read books for my first grade daughter.  She’s having an awful time blending the sounds together.  I don’t think she understands how the sounds go together, and I don’t think she can hear specific sounds within the parts of words.  Also, she could only complete the books with a great deal of help from me.  There has to be a better way to learn reading than this, but I’m not sure what steps to take.  I don’t want my child to become labeled.”   


Unfortunately, this little girl is struggling to read because she has not gone through a step-by-step, systematic phonics lesson plan that begins with individual sounds blended with other individual sounds at the beginning of words. 


Instead, she has gone through a typical public education Guided Reading program that teaches children to look for word parts within words that they recognize and then to guess at the rest of the word.  This encourages children to begin reading words at either the beginning of the word or in the middle of the word or at the end of the word, wherever they recognize a word part. 


To make matters even worse, Guided Reading also teaches children to memorize whole words and whole sentences inside easy-to-read books without ever stopping to blend together the sounds of the letters within the words.  Thus, reading becomes a giant guessing game using a series of clues such as:  the picture on the page, the shape and length of the word, the first letter of the word, a recognizable word part, or deciding upon which word might make sense in the sentence. 


 Sadly, this Guided Reading, whole-word, guessing game is leaving millions of children unable to blend letter sounds and word parts together for the rest of their lives.   You see, children need to learn to read with a systematic phonetic plan that teaches them to blend individual sounds at the beginning of words and that builds them up with the necessary skills to blend those sounds with all the other parts within words.  Reading requires a laid-out system of learning that: 

First, teaches what sounds all the letters and groups of letters stand for


Second, teaches how to blend those letters and word parts all together. 


Learning to read doesn’t just “happen” by placing easy-to-read books in front of children and asking them to memorize all the whole words on all the pages.


We must teach children to read in somewhat the same way that we learned how to drive a car.  When we learned to drive a car, we learned one step at a time, adding on more and more steps, blending those steps together, blending them faster and faster with more and more practice.


For example, we learned first, to check the gas and oil and second, to get into the driver’s seat. We went on to learn, step by step, to make certain everyone had their seat belt fastened, to put the key in and start the car, to slowly push on the accelerator, to look where we were going, to drive slowly at first, to speed up a little as we learned more, and so on and so.


Each day that we arrived to Driver’s Ed Class, we were taught more and more individual driving steps as well as correct driving responses to common driver situations, and we learned to blend all those steps and responses together faster and faster.   To be certain, good drivers began their driving adventures by learning individual driving steps.  This is because their instructors wanted to make certain that they understood everything they needed to know to drive safely and to stay alive.


 I got a charge out of a comment from one internet writer who answered the question:  “What are the steps to driving?”  He pretty much stated what it would be like if we all learned to drive “all at once” using a method similar to that of look/say, whole-word, sight-reading instruction. 


He suggested that we start the car, pick a gear, jam the gas pedal to the floor, stop if we see red, go if we see green, slow down if we see yellow.  If we hit a cat, we earn 5 points.  If we hit a dog we earn 8 points.  If we hit a squirrel we earn 10 points.  


 I’m sure he was just joking around, but his method was a learn-as-you-go driving plan with possible casualties treated lightly.  It’s almost as if he was saying:  

“Just laugh at yourself as you go along, force yourself to drive more and more, think fun thoughts and go places you enjoy, and, eventually, learning to drive will all come together for you.  As the days go by, you’ll be hitting fewer and fewer  animals, and you’ll learn to drive inside the lanes more and more if you just keep practicing.”  


This is certainly NOT the way to learn to drive, and this is, most assuredly, NOT the way to learn to read. 


Mom, Dad, it’s time to take the reigns and teach your own child how to read.  Our American public schools insist upon whole-word, sight-reading, guided-reading techniques of reading instruction, and because of this stubbornness, more and more Americans are failing to learn to read every word on every page. 


Come check us out!  Candy 4WAY Phonics offers parents, grandparents, and teachers who desire to learn and to teach phonics instruction a COMPLETE Systematic 4WAY Phonics Curriculum.  It’s a fun, thorough, COMPLETE phonics curriculum designed to teach children  — from K4 through Grade 4 level reading and higher — in printable format for only $9.97


Don’t be fooled by the price!!!  For only $9.97, you’ll receive: 

*Step by step instructions

*Easy-to-learn Rhyming Alphabet Charts

*Multisensory vowel helps

*100 daily systematic, fun, 4WAY Phonics Lessons

*Sequenced, leveled colored, fun Story Readers

*Rhyming colored flashcards

*As-you-go Spelling Rules

*Lifetime Rhyming Phonics Charts

*Free Email Coaching, and so much more! 


What is Explicit, Systematic Phonics? 

Well it’s NOT Guided Reading. 

Rather, it’s a planned-out system of daily phonics lessons that teaches children to blend together, from left to right, all the individual letters and letter combinations one step at a time.  Teaching your child to read using a parent-friendly Explicit, Systematic 4WAY Phonics Curriculum will be one of the most important skills you give your child!


 Carol Kay, President

Candy 4way Phonics