PL2. The What of Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition

Primary Literacy Series Module 2: The What of Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition
Course Progress

Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition: The What

Phonics instruction involves teaching students the relationships between letters and sounds. Students use knowledge of letter-sound relationships to sound out (decode) written words accurately. This module provides information about the components of strong phonics instruction as well as the parts and pieces that do not fit into strong phonics instruction (est. completion time: 3 hours).

  • The What of Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition (Part 2)
    • Navigation and Learning Objectives
    • Pre-Assessment
    • Introduction
    • Explicit and Systematic
    • Blending Routines
    • Quality Decodable Texts 
    • Phonics Lesson Sequence
    • Part of a Comprehensive Curriculum
    • Summing it Up
    • Post-Assessment: The What of Phonics
How to use this Module


Completion of The Why of Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition (Part 1) comprehensive learning module. Taking courses in the recommended order helps you build a strong foundation in important concepts and practices related to teaching phonics and word recognition.

Module Description

This module is the second part of a five-part series on Teaching Phonics and Word Reading Instruction. Part 2, the “what” of phonics instruction, focuses on the practices and components that exemplify explicit and systematic phonics instruction. In this module, you will learn about effective instructional techniques, reflect upon your current practice, and evaluate how well your reading program aligns with research on effective reading instruction. 

The following topics are discussed in the text, linked resources, embedded audio, and video:

  • The elements of explicit and systematic instruction
  • A phonics scope and sequence
  • Quality texts for reading practice
  • An explicit phonics lesson sequence
  • The importance of using research-aligned instructional materials
Quote by Dr. Martin Kozloff, "When a child memorizes ten words, they can only read ten words. If a child learns the sounds of ten letters, they will be able to read 350 three-sound words, 4,320 four-sounds words, and 21,650 five-sound words."

Although this module will likely be most helpful for K-3 educators, educators in all grades and content areas may find this module to be beneficial.

This module aligns with the following recommendations in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Practice Guide – Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade:

  • Recommendation 2: Develop awareness of the segments of sounds in speech and how they link to letters
  • Recommendation 3: Teach students to decode words, analyze word parts and write and recognize words
  • Recommendation 4: Ensure that each student reads connected text every day to support reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension 

Helpful Resources Related to this Module:

An outline of the module’s main content and supporting resources.

Welcome & Navigation

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Ohio Literacy Library

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