Topic | Confused about phonics

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  • Rachel

    I am so confused about phonics.  I really do not understand what it is or what the purpose is.  My oldest is 6 1/2, year 1.  He basically taught himself to read, and is reading classics on his own, for fun.  He reads at about a 5th grade reading level, based off of some tests we did on-line to appease my parents 🙂  Do we need to do phonics?  I had planned to do spelling the CM way, and without using a program.  I had planned to start that next year.


    I’m NOT an expert!  But, I’m finding that with my oldest (who spent very little time learning to read by phonics – she just picked it up and ran), she has a hard time breaking a word apart to spell it on her own.  She’s in 5th grade.

    My 2nd daughter (3rd grade), is dyslexic.  She’s learning (through the Barton Reading and Spelling program) intense phonics.  She’s only at Level 3, Lesson 3, so she’s only reading and spelling words that can be easily sounded out.  But I’ve looked ahead, and she will be taught all sorts of rules about spelling – and it depends on breaking a word into syllables and following the rules.   I know it won’t be fun for her to memorize a bunch of rules, but it will simplify spelling immensely.

    So, my gut feeling is that phonics (if by “phonics” you mean the rules associated with pronouncing and spelling words) are necessary.

    That said, I have NO idea how I’m going to boost my 5th grader’s understanding of spelling rules.  (I don’t remember being taught them in public school, and I’m a great speller, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the reason behind the spelling.)


    I have two kids and my daughter is a natural speller while my son is NOT. ( suspect dyslexia…my sister has it and so  know it is in my family, but we see no reason to get a diagnosis. I do use methods for dyslexics in teaching him though and we have had great improvement. Both my kids do phonics…my daughter thinks it is fun but my son struggles a bit with it, however I see lots of progress with him since he started it. HTH.


    Doug Smith

    You might find our video on Basic and Intensive Phonics helpful.


    I don’t think that everyone needs phonics.  I didn’t learn it as a child, and read and spelled ahead of my peers. I studied syllables and word roots as a child.

    I am using a reading materials with my dd and will use the spelling materials once she is reading better.  Check out their blog to learn about their style and about phonics.





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