Today’s reading programs often produce excellent reading scores in the early grades, but by 3rd or 4th grade frequently comprehension begins a downhill slide. That’s the point where instruction shifts from decoding and word recognition to fluency and comprehension.
This phenomena is so widespread that researchers have given it a name: “The Fourth-Grade Slump.”
Oklahoma is one of several states that recently adopted new reading policies that call for 3rd graders to be held back if they flunk a state standardized test. “If our children are not able to read at grade-appropriate levels,” Gov. Fallin said when signing the measure into law last year, “they can’t learn the math, the science, the social studies as they … go through the education system.”
What happened? What went wrong? Wasn’t phonics supposed to address some of these issues?
The problem is, the definition of phonics is like that of beauty and is in the eye of the beholder. It means many different things to many different people!
Implicit Phonics teaches the words first, and then breaks them into parts.
Explicit Phonics teaches the letters first, and then builds them into words.
Implicit phonics teaches reading using beginning and ending letter clues, the shape of the word, and sentence context clues. Here is a demonstration lesson teaching reading using implicit phonics that is quite revealing: Implicit Phonics
And here is a presentation of how to teach the same two multisyllable words using Explicit Phonics.
Implicit phonics and explicit phonics have vastly different results! Clearly, explicit phonics is the preferred way to teach reading with any degree of accuracy, precision, and comprehension.
A simple recipe for reading that anyone can use to teach students of any age how to read! Ten easy steps reveal what to teach (and what not to teach) using colorful graphic illustrations. Discover the most important features to keep in mind when looking for a good phonics program. Watch for it!