Learning to read is probably the single most critical skill that a child will acquire in his/her lifetime. Academically, students with better reading skills will excel in all other subject matter. Better readers will comprehend what they read and the subject matter will take on deeper meaning. Early success in reading leads to a higher self-esteem and a greater desire to learn in a vast array of subject matter.

Phonetic reading is understanding that words consist of a sequence of individual sounds. “Sounding out words” has been challenged time and time again by the introduction of whole language reading, basal reading, and many other reading programs. Ultimately, we are brought back to a phonetic foundation.

A phonetic reading program provides a lifetime foundation for successful reading, writing, and spelling. When a learner understands how a sound is produced, words start to take shape and a reader is born. Reading programs that teach reading through labeling and sight words only, can produce readers as well. However, when learners are faced with unfamiliar words, they do not have the tools needed to learn to read the words. With a phonetic foundation, the reader has the ability and skills needed to read the words quickly and effectively by understanding letter sounds and blends.

When learners understand that words can be broken down into word families, syllables, related beginnings and ending sounds, they have the ability to read unfamiliar words. A phonetic education will empower students with the literacy needed to master higher education.

As a teacher, my goal is to provide lifelong readers and learners. A love of reading is built by having a solid foundation to ensure confidence in being a reader. In turn, students will become better equipped readers, spellers, and writers. Teachers are often asked what can help to make their child a better reader. The answer is a solid foundation and repetition. For reading success, practice makes perfect! Show your child that you have a love of reading yourself and that reading can be fun. Children will follow in your footsteps.

--Gina Mcgraw, Kindergarten Instructor

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