Reading Programs & Resources


Category: Reading Resources

Phonics is a key element to primary reading success. Scholastic Phonics products reflect current research from America's leading experts in early reading and phonics that provide more purposeful phonics practice through decodable readers, skills lessons (workbooks), manipulatives, and CD-ROM software.

For Ages:

3 - 9


1 - 4


What is Phonics?

Phonics involves the relationship between sounds and their spellings. The goal of phonics instruction is to teach students the most common sound-spelling relationships so that they can decode, or sound out, words. This decoding ability is a crucial element in reading success.

Why is Phonics Instruction Important?

Phonics instruction plays a key role in helping students comprehend text. It helps the student map sounds onto spellings, thus enabling them to decode words. Decoding words aids in the development of word recognition, which in turn increases reading fluency. Reading fluency improves reading comprehension because as students are no longer struggling with decoding words, they can concentrate on making meaning from the text.

In addition, phonics instruction improves spelling ability because it emphasizes spelling patterns that become familiar from reading. Studies show that half of all English words can be spelled with phonics rules that relate to one letter to one sound.

Teachers tell us they choose Scholastic because our products are based on a clearly defined scope and sequence and are fun to use:

  • Each product fits in with your core curriculum: whether it be teacher-led instruction, small groups, independent or take-home practice.
  • Each series meets a clearly defined need.
  • Each title meets a targeted skill.

How Is Phonics Different From Phonemic Awareness?

Phonics involves the relationship between sounds and written symbols, whereas phonemic awareness involves sounds in spoken words. Therefore, phonics instruction focuses on teaching sound-spelling relationships and is associated with print. Most phonemic awareness tasks are oral.

Despite these different focuses, phonics instruction and phonemic awareness instruction are connected. In fact, phonemic awareness is necessary for phonics instruction to be effective. Before students can use knowledge of sound-spelling relationships to decode written words, they must understand that words (whether written or spoken) are made up of sounds. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that a word is made up of a series of discrete sounds. Without this insight, phonics instruction will not make sense to students.

How Does Your Child's School Teach Phonics?

Systematically and sequentially. Teachers give children plenty of practice before moving on. Your child will read short, easy books, containing the particular letter sounds or words she's working on.

Can I contribute to my child’s progress? Most certainly! Here are some easy activities you can do at home to reinforce schoolwork:

  • Team up with the teacher. Ask how you can highlight phonics and reading. If you have concerns, share them.
  • Listen to your child read daily. If your child stumbles on a word, encourage him to sound it out. But if he still can't get it, provide the word so he doesn't get discouraged.
  • Boost comprehension. Ask questions like, "What do you think will happen next?" or "What did he mean by that?"
  • Revisit familiar books. It's okay if your child wants to read favorites from earlier years.
  • Read aloud. Choose books on topics that excite your child, and read with gusto, using different voices for the characters.
  • Spread the joy. Show your child how much you value reading by having plenty of books and magazines around the house. And visit the library and bookstores often. You'll teach phonics as well as cultivate a lifelong love of reading in your child.
  • Sing the alphabet song. Be creative — sing it as a rap, skip every other letter, start the song beginning with the letter of your child's name, sing the alphabet backwards, quietly, or loudly.
  • Play with letters. Set up a place in your home where your child can see and work with letters. Magnet letters are good for refrigerator word play.
  • Play "I Spy." Invite your child to play a guessing game. Without revealing it to her, select an object in the room and provide phonics clues to help her guess what it is.
  • Share alphabet books. Alphabet books provide perfect at-home opportunities for learning about phonics and working with letters and words. Wonderful books for preschoolers include: [can list books perhaps]

[Sources: Teach Phonics at Home and Building Phonics Skills ]

About Wiley Blevins – Scholastic Phonics Expert

Wiley Blevins is an early reading specialist and former editorial director at Scholastic. He graduated from Harvard and has written numerous reading programs and books for teachers, including: Phonics from A to Z, Teaching the Alphabet, Teaching Phonics and Word Study in the Intermediate Grades, Building Fluency, Teaching Students to Read Nonfiction, and Phonemic Awareness Activities for Early Reading Success.

Wiley has conducted educational research on topics such as phonics, fluency, and using decodable text. He works with school districts around the U.S. evaluating their teaching practices and use of instructional materials. Wiley has also written fiction and nonfiction children's books such as MAX HAS A FISH, A NEW FRIEND, RICE AND BEANS, and BODHI AND FRIENDS. He has also completed a series of books on teaching children how to deal with bullying as well as a series of haunted fairy tales.

Phonics Books by Wiley Blevins

  • Phonemic Awareness Songs and Rhymes in the Teacher Store (Grades PreK–2)
  • Phonemic Awareness Activities for Early Reading Success in the Teacher Store (Grades K–2)
  • Phonics from A to Z: A Practical Guide in the Teacher Store (Grades K–3)
  • Quick-and-Easy Learning Games: Phonics (Grades 1–3)
  • Building Fluency: Lessons and Strategies for Reading Success (Grades 2–6)
  • Teaching Phonics & Word Study in the Intermediate Grades: A Complete Sourcebook in the Teacher Store (Grades 3–8)

Featured Products by Wiley Blevins:

  • Video : Teaching Phonics Teaching the Alphabet
  • Teaching Phonics offers research-based strategies and systematic, easy-to-implement activities to aid teachers in teaching essential phonics skills and helping students become confident and successful readers.
  • Teaching the Alphabet contains a wealth of print and digital resources for teaching the basic alphabet-recognition and decoding skills children need to become fluent readers. It’s ideally suited for PreK-K teachers who want to focus on, or offer extra practice in letter-work instruction.
  • Phonics From A to Z is everything about phonics you’ve wanted to know but have been afraid to ask. Wiley Blevins summarizes the current research and offers strategies and lessons for making phonics instruction come alive in the classroom.
    • Includes:
      • Guidelines and tips on meeting the needs of reluctant readers and English language learners.
      • Speed drill forms and routines, ready-to-use assessments, word lists, games, learning center ideas, and a comprehensive index

Exclusive For Teachers:


Want to get started on teaching phonics? Check out the free resources below, including lessons and activities, that will help you use phonics to promote reading success.

Teaching Tips from Scholastic Phonics Expert Wiley Blevins

What is Phonics? How Can Phonics Help You Teach?

Why is Phonemic Awareness so Important in Phonics Classes?

How Can Picture Books Help You to Teach Phonics?

How the Readers Series Can Help to Teach Phonics?

Teach with Phonics Skills Chart

Created with the guidance of phonics expert Wiley Blevins, this chart includes key phonics skills, the approximate age most kids master them, and illustrations of mastery — plus sample activities for each skill level from Scholastic books and programs that promote phonics instruction.

Lesson Plans

Phonics Crafts & Games

Grades 1-2 Phonics Games: Crafts and games suitable for kids between Grades 1-2

Phonics Printables

Additional Resources for Teachers by Wiley Blevins

  • Recommendation for Great Teacher Resource Books
  • Choosing the Just-Right Readers for My Students