Best Practices for Visual Phonics Implementation
Years of observations and coaching in regular and special education classrooms have led to the sense that there is a formula for “success” in the implementation of Visual Phonics. The best outcomes for impacting student achievement result from a combination of planned interventions and intuitive “seizing the teachable moment” implementations. Teachable moments often arrive unexpectedly and provide educators with opportunities to clarify confusions or to “connect the dots” between where the teacher thought the student should be in their understanding and where they actually are. Students internalize the Visual Phonics strategy best when they see regular use by their teachers and have regular, but varied opportunities to use the strategy themselves.
A summary of the scope of “best” practices is outlined below:
Routines – daily routine of review, tailored to what needs to be learned or reviewed . . . involves teacher/student use of hand shapes along with visual display of written symbols associated with print
Differentiation – flexible/fluid use of hand shapes throughout the day . . . teacher modeling . . . use of hand shapes and written symbols for sound-letter associative cues . . . flexible expectations for student use of hand shapes
Active Learning Centers – students actively using hand shapes to sound out words . . . association of written symbols and letters/chunks . . . riddles . . . word making activities . . . move & say . . . Elkonin boxes . . . word sorts
Written Symbols in Print Environment – tailored to grade level or student needs (individual or group) . . . student names . . . high frequency words . . . sight words . . . Word Wall words . . . Sound Wall words . . . riddles . . . trivia . . . vocabulary words – written symbols help to map sound to print for beginning letter sounds, ending letter sounds, vowel sounds, and the “tricky” parts of words
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