Your child comes home from school chanting about rules of vowels with breves and macrons. What is all of this about you wonder? Phonics has made its way into many elementary school classrooms.
As a child, I can remember being given a list of words to memorize. Each week we were given the assignment of writing the word five times and making a sentence with each one. This type of teaching does not often take place now. Many school districts have adopted programs from Saxon Phonics.
In Saxon Phonics, students are taught rules for the spelling of words. For example, as early as kindergarten students are taught when vowels are short and when they use their long sound. Each day students review picture cards with rules such as vowel-constant-e to remember that the e is silent and the vowel is long. Students are given rules for when to use k in a word and when to c. K is used when spelling before an e, i, or y. C comes before everything else. Other skills taught within Saxon Phonics focus on syllables, rhyming, compound words, and word count in sentences. Saxon Phonics gives students a pattern to look for in words and helps them relate new words to words that they already know. Parents are amazed at how their child can sit down and code and read an unknown word.
Of course, as with everything there are exceptions to all rules. Not every word in the English language will follow the rules of Saxon Phonics. These words, students are taught to memorize by sight and are labeled as “sight words”. Sight words along with words that can be “sounded-out” are put into small books for children to read. The books progressively get harder as the students master each one.
By using programs such a Saxon Phonics, teachers are more easily being able to answer the “why” question that so many students have. Rules give some students the tool that they need to become successful readers.