A Fresh Look at Phonics, Grades K-2
Common Causes of Failure and 7 Ingredients for Success
Foreword by Douglas Fisher
Literacy (Primary/Elementary) | Reading (Primary/Elementary) | Writing (Primary/Elementary)
“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.”
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.
A Fresh Look at Phonics: Make Instruction Active and Engaging to Turn Students into Skilled Readers
"For decades, phonics instruction has been the topic of conversation and debate. It is often treated like a long-lost relative showing up for Thanksgiving dinner—sometimes welcomed, sometimes relegated to the kiddie table, and often misunderstood. But the research is clear: Phonics instruction matters, and it is essential for students to understand the alphabetic principle to learn to read." Read the full article by Wiley Blevins, author of A Fresh Look at Phonics, in the Nov/Dec 2020 Issue of NAESP Magazine.
Welcome and Overview
In this excerpt from A Fresh Look at Phonics, author Wiley Blevins discusses his motivation for writing the book and describes the ways that its contents can be benefits to teachers, administrators, and coaches alike.
Meeting the Challenges of Early Literacy Phonics Instruction
"The question of whether to include phonics instruction has been resolved. The answer is yes." Read the full article by A Fresh Look at Phonics author Wiley Blevins, published by the International Literacy Association.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Addresses only a very small aspect of my course content. Reads more like a "tips for teaching" book than a textbook.
We adopted this text for our foundations of literacy course because it introduces students to the basics of phonics and to an approach to teaching it that is systematic an explicit.
Love this book. Will adopt as a supplemental text for my literacy course.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Success Ingredient 1: Readiness Skills