Phonics and Fluency Paola Pilonieta, Ph.D.

Phonics and Fluency Paola Pilonieta, Ph.D.. 2 What is phonics? The main focus of phonics instruction is to help beginning readers understand letter-sound

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Phonics and Fluency

Paola Pilonieta, Ph.D.


What is phonics?

The main focus of phonics instruction is to help beginning readers understand letter-sound correspondences and spelling patterns, and to help them learn how to apply this knowledge in their reading.

Sound It Out!


Sounding It Out

• What are you really asking?



Sound It Out

• Why doesn’t it always work?



What else can do I do when a child can’t figure out the word?



• Prompting is what the teacher says when a child can’t decode a word.

• Start by offering the least support possible.• Move from general prompts to more

specific prompts.


General Prompts• When the child notices the error:

– Ask: What can you do to figure out that word?

• When the child doesn’t notice the error:– Give the child a few seconds to notice.– Ask: Does that make sense?


Specific Prompts: Use when general prompts don’t work

• Can you sound it out?• Are there parts of the word that you know?

(chunking)• Can the pictures help you?• Point to the part of the word with which they

are struggling, ask:– What letter is this?– What sound does that letter make?



Prompting vs. TellingPrompt when:

• the word can be sounded out.

• you have practiced similar words with the child.

Tell when:• the word is too hard.• the word is impossible to

sound out (ex: ocean).


Offer 1-2 quick prompts. If the child still can’t figure it out, tell them the word and

move on.

Let’s Try It! What prompts might you offer to students struggling with crater?


Example 1

Example 2

What are other ways I can teach phonics?



Word Families

• Words that have different beginning letters but the same ending

Possible Word Families• ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash,

at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk.


Tic Tac Toe• Create a tic tac toe board.• Each player chooses a different word family (ex:

-at and –ig).• Player 1 writes a word from the –at family

anywhere he chooses on the board.• Player 2 writes a word from the –ig family on

any empty space he chooses on the board.• Play continues until someone has 3 words from

their word family in a row.


Word Chains

• Have learner look for words that belong in the same word family in a book or think of their own words.

• Have the learner write the words on construction paper strips.

• Tape or staple the ends of the strips into a circle, linking the circles with one another to form a chain.






Word Chain example with –ot familyVariations

• use words with the same beginning sound (hat, head, help, home)

• Use beginning/ending letters (Metal, almost, stone, nest, stare, reverse, seat


Word Family Slides

• Give learner a word family slide and Real vs. Nonsense Word worksheet.

• The learner reads the first word created by the slide.

• The learner determines whether the word is real or nonsense and writes it on the correct space on the worksheet.



Additional word family resources can be found at:

Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR)http://www.fcrr.org/Curriculum/pdf/GK-1/P_Final_Part3.pdf




Words You KnowWords you know is an activity that helps students see that you can use words you know to figure out words you don’t know!• Choose 3-4 words the student knows and identify the

spelling patterns in those words.• Have the learner make a chart on their paper. Head the

columns with the words you know and underline the spelling pattern.

• Show the learner some words on an index card. Have them read the word and write it in the correct column.

• Say some words. Have the learner decide where to write them on their paper.


Words you know:red green brown black

Words to read:queen crown knack shedattack between coed touchdown

Words to write:smack screen fled drownsled unseen downtown backpack


Red Green Brown Black

Shed queen crown attack

coed between touchdown knack

fled screen drown smack

sled unseen downtown backpack

Word Building• Place the consonant cards face down in one stack

and the vowel cards face down in another stack.• Give the learner a Real vs. Nonsense Word

worksheet.• The learner selects 2 cards from the consonant

stack, 1 from the vowel stack, and places the vowel card between the consonants.

• The learner reads the word, determines if it is real or nonsense and writes it under the correct column.



Additional phonics resources can be found at:

Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR)http://www.fcrr.org/Curriculum/pdf/GK-1/P_Final_Part4.pdf






What is fluency?

• Fluency is the ability to read accurately, quickly, effortlessly, and with appropriate expression and meaning.

• There are three components to fluency:1. Accuracy

2. Expression

3. Speed


Timed Repeated ReadingIdeal for students who read accurately, but slowly.

Procedure – 1st reading• Choose a passage between 100-150 words that is not too

hard for the learner.• Say to the learner, “Doing your best reading, please read

aloud this passage to me with expression and at a good, even pace.”

• Time the learner while he is reading.• While the learner is reading, keep track of how many

errors he or she made.• Review their performance.


Timed Repeated Reading

Procedure – Subsequent Readings• Set a reasonable goal for the next tutoring session.

– You can expect the child to read 2-3 words more per minute

• Practice reading the passage one more time that session.• Encourage the learner to practice reading the passage at

least one time every day until you see him or her again.• At the next tutoring session time the learner while he or

she reads the passage.


Readers Theatre

• Ideal for students who need to improve their expression.

• Students read a script (rather than memorize it).– Emphasis is placed on expression, not on props,

costumes, or acting


Readers Theatre Procedures

• Select a script– http://it.pinellas.k12.fl.us/Teachers3/gurianb/


• Read the script with the student the first time (read all roles together).

• Check that the student understood the plot.• Choose roles and read the script like a play.

• Repeat as desired.



The Snowy Day

Written by Ezra Jack Keats Adapted by Jennifer Pellerin

Parts (7): Narrator 1 Narrator 2 Narrator 3 Narrator 4 Peter Mother Friend Narrator 1: The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. Narrator 2: One winter morning Peter woke up and looked out the

window. Snow had fallen during the night. Peter: “It’s covered everything, as far as I can see!” Narrator 3: said Peter. Narrator 4: After breakfast he put on his snowsuit and ran outside.

The snow was piled up very high along the street to make a path for walking.

Questions?Contact me at

[email protected]