Elementary Literacy Support

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What is phonics?  Phonics is connecting sounds (phonemes) to the letter shapes (graphemes). It is sometimes referred to as the “alphabetic principle.”


Why is phonics important?  Phonics instruction helps all learners. Good readers spell better with phonics instruction. Struggling readers learn to read better and faster with explicit, systematic phonics instruction. (National Reading Panel, 2000, American Psychological Society, 2001) Also, when studying words in the English Language, we know:

  • 50% are wholly decodable
  • 37% are off by only one sound
  • 50% of the words we use are made up of the 107 most used high frequency words
     (Ehri, 1995)

How can we help students be strategic phonics decoders?  Phonics should be taught explicitly in a systematic, sequenced program.  An effective phonics lesson begins with a phonemic awareness warm up, includes an explicit sound-spelling lesson, moves into a blending lesson and follows up immediately with an opportunity for students to practice and review by reading decodable text. 

Houghton Mifflin Phonics Materials:

  • Kindergarten Phonics Center: Ready made independent activities to practice each week’s phonics skills
  • Phonics Library: Original stories that provide practice and application of phonics skills and high-frequency words.
  • I Love Reading Books: Decodable stories in Blackline Master format provide phonics and high-frequency word practice for in-class and take-home use.
  • Blending Routine Cards: Explicit blending models support instruction and promote effective decoding strategies.
  • Sound/Spelling Cards: Teach and reinforce common spelling patterns with these instructional cards.
  • Phonics/Decoding Screening Test: Use this test to assess the needs of students who require more help with instruction and/or application of phonics skills. Available in Blackline Master format.


Information and Intervention Ideas


Professional Literature

These books are available in most ASD elementary school professional libraries:


Phonics bookk

Phonics book1 Phonics book2

Phonics/Word Study Lessons, K-3 by Fountas and Pinnell

These were purchased for each grade level and should be available in your school’s professional library.



Rhymes book

Rhymes and Reasons: Literature and Language Play  by Michael Opitz
Book Description at Heinemann Publishers


Words book

Words Their Way by Shane Templeton et al.
Activities to use with this book from Literacy Connections


* A link to book publishers is provided here in order to read a description of the text; however ASD does not specifically endorse these publishers.