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A Fresh Look at Phonics, Grades K-2
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A Fresh Look at Phonics, Grades K-2
Common Causes of Failure and 7 Ingredients for Success

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July 2016 | 304 pages | Corwin

“In most instances, there isn’t one main cause of a systematic breakdown in phonics instruction. Rather, a combination of causes can create a perfect storm of failure.” 
—Wiley Blevins

Picture a class of kindergarteners singing the alphabet song, and teaching phonics  seems as easy as one-two, three, A, B, C, right? In a Fresh Look at Phonics, Wiley Blevins explains why it can get tricky, and then delivers a plan so geared for success, that teachers, coaches, and administrators will come to see owning this book as a before and after moment in their professional lives. 

In this amazing follow up to his renowned resource Phonics From A-Z, Wiley uses the data he has collected over two decades to share which approaches truly work, which have failed, and how teachers can fine-tune their daily instruction for success. 

You will learn to focus on the seven critical ingredients of phonics teaching that produce the greatest student learning gains— readiness skills, scope and sequence, blending, dictation, word awareness, high frequency words, and reading connected texts. Then, for each ingredient, Wiley shares:  

  • Activities, routines, word lists, and lessons that develop solid foundations for reading
  • Ideas for differentiation, ELL, and advanced learners to ensure adequate progress for all learners
  • Help on decodable texts, what not to over-do, and what you can’t do enough of for your students’ achievement
  • Interactive “Day Clinic” activities that facilitate teacher self-reflection and school wide professional learning

In a final section, Wiley details the ten common reasons instruction fails and shows teachers how to correct these missteps regarding lesson pacing, transitions, decodable texts, writing activities, assessment and more. A Fresh Look at Phonics is the evidence-based solution you have been seeking. 

Wiley Blevins, Ph.D., is a world-renowned expert on early reading, and author of the seminal book Phonics From A-Z among many other works. He has taught in both the United States and South America, and regularly trains teachers throughout Asia. He holds a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, and has worked with numerous educational scholars, including Jeanne Chall, Isabel Beck, Marilyn Adams, Louisa Moats, and Dianne August, and others. 

 

 
Section 1: The Key Ingredients for Phonics Success
 
Success Ingredient 1: Readiness Skills
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Success Ingredient 2: Scope and Sequence
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Success Ingredient 3: Blending
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Success Ingredient 4: Dictation
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Success Ingredient 5: Word Awareness Activities (Word Building and Word Sorts)
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Success Ingredient 6: High-Frequency Words
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Success Ingredient 7: Reading Connected Text
Background and Key Characteristics

 
Best Practices and Look-Fors for Success

 
Common Instructional Pitfalls

 
Day Clinic: Examine Your Practices

 
Next Steps to Leap Forward

 
 
Plus One More Essential Success Ingredient: You!
 
Section 2: 10 Common Causes of Phonics Instruction Failure
 
Introduction
 
Reason 1: Inadequate or Nonexistent Review and Repetition
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 2: Lack of Application to Real Reading and Writing Experiences
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 3: Inappropriate Reading Materials to Practice Skills
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 4: Ineffective Use of the Gradual Release Model
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 5: Too Much Time Lost During Transitions
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 6: Limited Teacher Knowledge of Research-Based Phonics Routines and Linguistics
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 7: Inappropriate Pacing of Lessons
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 8: No Comprehensive or Cumulative Mastery Assessment Tools
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 9: Transitioning to Multisyllabic Words Too Late
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Reason 10: Overdoing It (Especially Isolated Skill Work)
The Problem

 
How to Fix It

 
 
Closing Thoughts
 
References

"When Wiley Blevins wrote his first book on teaching phonics 20 years ago I thought that it was one of the most practical approaches to teaching this foundational reading competency.  It may seem like a cliché, but Wiley has outdone himself with this book!.  In A Fresh Look at Phonics he provides teachers and others interested in effective phonics instruction with a comprehensive and practical guide to making phonics instruction work for all students, all year. Just as the title promises, Wiley provides us with a truly fresh way of thinking about how phonics plays out in classrooms."

TIMOTHY RASINKSI
Professor of Literacy Education, Kent State University

"Wiley combines the latest research and his own years of trusted know-how to provide educators with a timely trove of high impact tools they can readily use to deliver world-class phonics instruction. A Fresh Look at Phonics is sure to be another must-have, well-worn classic."

JANIEL WAGSTAFF
Literacy coach and author of Booster Lessons, K-2

"I devoured this book!  Who would have thought that a book on phonics would be a page-turner? It’s quick, practical, and teacher friendly and yet comprehensive enough to be a refresher course for experienced teachers and the needed foundation for teachers new to teaching beginning readers.  I can’t wait to share this with teachers with whom I work in professional development—they are going to love the clear links to reading, writing, and spelling. My favorite feature? The broad scope and sequence that pairs with guided reading instruction and provides links back to phonics lessons."

JUDY LYNCH
Teacher and author of Easy Lessons for Teaching Word Families

"Wiley Blevins’ fresh take on phonics is a must-read for anyone looking to improve phonics instruction. He boils phonics down into critical ingredients and supports teachers in the ever-important process of reflection. The book gives professional learning communities the tools needed to turn common instructional failures into effective, timeless practices."

CAROLYN BANUELOS, DANIELLE JAMES, AND ELISE LUND
Literacy coaches and authors of Puzzle Piece Phonics

Love this book. Will adopt as a supplemental text for my literacy course.

Dr Kelly Kathleen Metz
Speech Hearing Sciences Dept, Univ Of Southern Mississippi
September 25, 2016
Key features

Highly formatted content allows users to dip in and out of sections. The book is divided into two sections: success and common causes of failures. Each ingredient of success offers: background, sample instruction; lists of best practices and look-fors; common instructional pitfalls; and a PD section called Day Clinic that prompts educators to look at specific aspects of their teaching and change it if need be. Includes phonics sounds/word lists, book and app recommendations, and more.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Success Ingredient 1: Readiness Skills

Welcome and Overview


Preview this book

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ISBN: 9781506326887
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