Methods of teaching phonics (continued.) 

In addition to Vertical and Hoizontal phonics (explained on the Vertical / Horizontal Phonics page of this site) other methods are offered by various companies to teach phonics. The following chart should help homeschooling mothers to more closely examine and evaluate the features of any  phonics program they may be considering.

Name: Similar to: Methods and brief TATRAS comment:
Linguistic Phonics Alpha Phonics Teaches word "families" (words with similar endings.)    Because this method tends to be limited to a certain word groups, not all phonograms are taught.  Reading a list of rhyming word is not efficiently teaching phonics.  Because of the need for similar "rhyme" (or "onset")  these words are not the most often occurring words that beginning readers  must learn to read and spell.  Linguistic phonics primary readers are easy to spot and usually boring.  They  sound like: "Sam took the ham and slammed the lamb.  Bam!"   
Special Symbol Phonics Reading Mastery, 100 Easy Lessons,  Int'l Teaching Alphabet Because some letters have more than one sound, these systems devise special symbols so that each of the sounds of English can have a unique symbol.  These symbols are then taught and the students will initially read text that utilizes these symbols.  Quick acquisition of the phonics habit, necessary for reading new text, is delayed because the student is not being prepared to deal with  the alternate sounds of many of our letters and letter combinations. 
Sound-to-print Phonics Hays-Wingo, Jolly Phonics,  Phono-Linguistics (proto-type reading program.) Also referred to as spelling-phonics.  Starts by teaching  beginning readers  a  sound (phoneme)  and then being shown  all the ways that that sound can be spelled (which is the information we seek when spelling a word.)    Spelling-phonics would seem to be of little use in decoding a word..  The logic of Spelling Phonics is explained by Prof.  Diane McGuinness,  on p.162 of Early Reading Instruction.  She says a student, looking at a word, will "sound out each  phoneme" of a word and then blend the sounds to arrive at the word.   Is she saying "sound out each sound?"  ("phoneme" means "sound.") If a student had not studied letter-sound associations and did not have the word previously  memorized, from where would the student get the  "phonemes" of the word to "sound out?"
Matrix Phonics New England Primer and newer  programs based on the New England Primer. Students are taught the sounds represented by combinations made when most possible initial word spellings of English are followed by the most common  medial spelling of  English.  These combinations could be represented on a spreadsheet (or matrix)  with medial spellings (a, e, i, o, u, y, ar, er etc ) on the x-axis and the vowels sounds----b, c, d, f, g, ch, on the y-axis. Students are taught ba, be, bi, bo and so on.  (Few such programs  actually show the spreadsheet view.)  
Whole Word Memorization  Used by many  reading program publishers from the 1930s until recently. Used by some  "neuro-specialists"  working in home school circles.  Also the method used in Glen Doman's Teach Your Baby to Read.  and Robert Titzer's Your Baby Can Read For many years systematic, direct phonics advocates have called "whole word" memorization techniques  "phony phonics."  This method has students  memorizing printed words with little reference to their knowledge of the sounds of the word's individual letters (which theoretically will be taught later.)  Sometimes called "indirect phonics."  Advocates sometimes rationalize this approach by saying, for example,  that when a child has memorized the words  mountain, mother, and maybe he will automatically recognized the "m" in moon.  Therefore they feel they are teaching letter-sound associations.  This method is often considered a "natural" method of teaching reading.  Tragically it is often forced on students who were understandably having problem learning to read by any one of the many other  inefficient methods being used by schools.  
Incidental Phonics Incidental Phonics methods are used in many (but by no means, all) public and Christian schools that assure parents they are teaching "phonics."

1.  Teaches 100-200 words as sight words before  the student has adequately learned the sound/symbol representations used in those words.   

 2. Doesn't  teach sound-symbol relationships for an adequate set of letters/letter combinations.

3.  Doesn't teach letter-letter combination sounds to automaticity.

4.  Drags  out the teaching of phonics, sometimes not completing what phonics is taught  until the 3d grade.

5.  Undermines the use of phonics by such strategies as:  a.  Using beginning texts that have many irregular words,  b.  Discouraging use of phonics by slower students (and their parents) trying to  use phonics to decode words.   c.  classifying large numbers of words as words that have to be memorized because they "are not phonetic."   d.  Minimizing the value of phonics and talking about "phonics fanatics."  

6.  Teaching  decoding  "rules" that are not efficient i.e. "When two vowels go a walking, the first one does the talking."

7.  First and second graders are overburdened with worksheets and "reading" assignments that they have not been prepared to handle.  Parents who do not understand phonics instruction either simply do the work for the student or cut short their work with the student leaving the parents with a feeling, later,  that they themselves are to blame for their student's failure 


On exhibit:  Frank Rogers (TATRAS) and some of the many reading programs he has obtained and analyzed.