Bonnie Johnson

Amy Pula

Thuy Nguyen

Patricia Garufi

Sara Warner

Special Education and Instructional Support

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What You Should Know About Structured Phonics


        Structured phonics is a systematic approach  that teaches the students the structure of the English language.  Decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) are taught side-by-side.  Generally, students do not get a weekly spelling list, since the idea is to use the spelling rules, not memorize a list of words.


      Every lesson follows the same format.  First we do sounds; then we do words using the sound cards.  Then we read lists of words, then sentences, then paragraphs.  Then we do the reverse for spelling:  identify the letter that makes a given sound, spell words with tiles and then dictation.


Why are you using controlled text?  It’s not very interesting.


      Controlled text is not great literature; it is controlled text.  This means that every word in a passage follows the rules that have been taught, with the exception of a few sight words.  It is used to help your child gain confidence in reading and to show your child that the system works.  The children have a tendency to guess and it is very important to break the guessing habit.  As they read, many of the children guess at words and by the end of the passage, they are often making it up entirely.  Controlled text enables them to successfully and consistently apply their skills.


      It is important though that your child be exposed to good literature. We hope that you read to your child at home.  Jim Trelease has written several books which contain good advice and recommendations for reading to children and adolescents.


Links worth visiting:

     A Math Amusement Park!--Cool Math 4 Kids has many games to review and reinforce math skills: is a great site to practice basic multiplication facts:

     Storyline On-line--Listen to actors, actresses, musicians, etc. read favorite story books:

     Brian P. Cleary's website--Stories, poems, games and more!: