Friday, 22 June 2018

Teaching phonemic awareness and phonics - the hands-on way!

I have been having fun putting together some hands-on phonemic awareness and phonics sets for our classes.  I started purchasing some mini objects and then sorted them into their major vowel sound groups - both short and long vowel sounds.

This is a work in progress, but I thought I would share progress along the way :).  Approaches to the teaching of phonics are often contested, with teachers often having strong views about "the best way".  My interest in putting together these hands-on kits, was to support oral language development and hands-on manipulation of real life (miniature) objects.   I intend to link this with the exploration of examples of language in use through rich examples from children's literature.

The Australian Literacy Educators' Association (ALEA) has published a paper, Phonics: its place in the literacy story  by Robyn Ewing (University of Sydney) and Marguerite Maher (Notre Dame University).  ALEA has also published a free resource for download, The place of phonics in learning to read and write by Marie Emmitt, David Hornsby and Lorraine Wilson.  You may also be interested in David Hornsby's response to the proposed Year 1 Phonics Test in relation to the Australian Curriculum: English.  You can read that paper here.

These are just some of the miniature objects that are sorted according to their major vowel sounds (e.g. short /a/, long a etc.).   
This is a work in progress, so I will be posting updates, including my selected picture book titles for teaching the short and long vowel sounds.  My list will include picture books by Aussie authors and recently published titles, including books that can be used for shared reading, with repeated readings focusing on the explicit teaching of phonics in context.

Have a terrific week, everyone!


  1. FANTASTIC, developmentally appropriate activities for early learners! So creative and well-thought out! Brava!!!

  2. Thank you Joy, your feedback means the world to me!!! It's a work in progress, so make sure you check back on its progress :). Kylie x

  3. Fabulous post, Kylie, with lots of good advice. I also appreciate the links to other articles. I hope many follow and read. I've written a few posts on this topic recently. I think some collaboration might be in order. :)

  4. For a teacher of secondary English, this is fascinating. I believe in teaching reading through phonics and I know that several other strategies are also used, at least through the experience my husband and I have had in the United States. The materials and approaches you show in this post make sense and are appealing---I would imagine very appealing to your students. I hope to make time to read the two articles you reference on phonics. Thank you!