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How to Learn Phonics for Adults

by Julie Vickers, Demand Media

    Phonics is a method of teaching reading skills that focuses on units of sound (phonemes) and their correspondence with written letters (graphemes). For example, the phoneme at the beginning of the word "shoe" (the "sh" sound) is represented as a grapheme by the combination of two letters: "s" and "h." Adults can improve reading fluency by learning phonics in association with other reading strategies, such as sight vocabulary, comprehension strategies and contextual clues. For adults to learn phonics effectively, they need to use a phonics scheme that is adult-centred, systematic and accurate.

    Items you will need

    • Online or software phonics program for adults
    Step 1

    Obtain a reading program that is appropriate for adults, such as the "Sight Phonics" program or the online program "We All Can Read."

    Step 2

    Learn to recite the names of the letters of the alphabet in the correct order.

    Step 3

    Learn to identify the single-letter short vowel sounds ("a," "e," "i", "o" and "u") and the sounds of single-letter consonants (all other letters of the alphabet).

    Step 4

    Learn to blend two-letter, vowel-consonant words, such as "on," and three-letter, consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, such as "jam." Practice blending by creating "nonsense" CVC words such as "hab," "sep" and "fuf." Use as many variations as you can until you are quick and proficient in this phonics skill.

    Step 5

    Learn to identify the two-letter vowel-consonant and consonant-consonant sounds: "ar," "er," "ck," "ch," "ng," "or," "ph," "qu," "sh" and "th."

    Step 6

    Learn to identify the two-letter vowel sounds, "ai," "ie," "ea," "ee," "oa," "oi," "oo," "ou" and "ue."

    Step 7

    Learn to identify the following two-letter consonant blends: "bl," "br," "cl," "cr," "dr," "dw," "fl," "fr," "gl," "gr," "pl," "pr," "sc," "sk," "sl," "sm," "sn," "sp," "st" "sw," "tr" and "tw."

    Step 8

    Learn to identify the following three-letter consonant blends: "chl," "chr," "phl," "phr," "scl," "scr," "sph," "shr," "str" and "thr" and the three-letter consonant-vowel blend, "squ."

    Step 9

    Learn to recognize words that have a "silent" 'e," which changes the short vowel sound in the middle of the word to a long vowel sound. For example, in "a-e" words such as "gate" and "mane," the "e" is silent and the "a" forms a long vowel sound.

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    About the Author

    Julie Vickers has worked as a writer in England since 2007. She has written health and parenting articles for regional magazines and contributed learning sessions on child development and behavior for an education services website. Vickers holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North London.

    Photo Credits

    • learning woman #13 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com

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