Strategy

Structured Phonics Texts

Phonics Texts, Decodable Books, Phonics Books

UDL 2.3 UDL 3.2

Structured Phonics Texts are specific texts that contain consistent phonics patterns and do not contains other textual supports (e.g., pictures clues, repetition, predictive text) in order to make sure that students develop their ability to correctly decode words when reading a text. These texts feature words that contain single letter sound practice (e.g., consonant s */s/*) or letter combinations (e.g., th/sh/ch, oa */o/*). After teaching a particular phonetic pattern, the teacher provides the student with a text that uses words that follow the new pattern, other familiar letter patterns, and known sight words. Students practice reading the text independently in order to develop automaticity with the phonics pattern.

Implementation Tips

Introduce Structured Phonics Text
Introduce a new Structured Phonics Text each time you teach a new phonics pattern (e.g., dge /j/, oa /o/). Provide students with a copy of the text that they can keep so that they can continue to practice the pattern over time.
Introduce Patterns in an Appropriate Sequence
Plan the order in which you will teach phonics patterns. Single letter sounds (e.g., s /s/, short a) should be taught before more complex letter combinations (e.g., long e spelled ee or ea, dge /j/). A text should only include previously taught and mastered patterns.
Guided Practice
Read words, phrases, and sentences with the new sound/spelling pattern as a class or in small groups prior to asking students to read Structured Phonics Texts independently. This provides practice with the sound/spelling pattern before students are independently asked to decode it.
Ask Comprehension Questions
Ask focused, explicit comprehension questions (e.g., who, what, where, and when questions) to measure understanding of the text. Inaccurate comprehension may signal that students are not decoding accurately. If the student is unable to answer the questions, listen to their reading to determine if they need more instruction with the phonics pattern.
Highlight Patterns
Use a highlighter or highlighter tape to highlight the phonics pattern in the text. This can help students focus their attention on the pattern while they are practicing it.
Structured Phonics Texts For Older Readers
Present the phonics text in a format that is appropriate for the age and maturity of the reader. Older readers can benefit from structured phonics texts presented in a similar format to other texts appropriate for that grade level. Alternately, use a familiar text with the phonics pattern highlighted.

Examples

Introduction of New Sound/Spelling Pattern
A teacher introduces the th/sh/ch digraphs to the class. Together, they practice reading the sounds in isolation. The teacher points to the words *shop*, *bench*, and *thin* on the board. The teacher and students read these words together, segmenting and blending the sounds. Then they read some sentences with th/sh/ch words. The teacher passes out a sheet a paper with a short story. The teacher says, “Boys and girls, this story uses this new pattern and some others you have already learned. Please read it to find out what happens when Adam rides the bus for the first time!”
Guided Reading Sound/Spelling Pattern Review
A teacher pulls a group of students for guided reading. The teacher says, “I notice you all have been having trouble with long vowels. Let’s review!” The teacher reviews the rules for long vowels and together they read a list of words that use long vowels, including *boat*, *ride*, and *beach*. Then the teacher presents the students with a short text that contains words with long vowels. The teacher says, “We are going to read this book together and pay attention to the long vowels. Ready? Put your finger on the first word. Let’s read!”
Individual Intervention
While reading with a student, a teacher notices that the student is struggling with the *dge* (/j/) sound, which the class has recently learned. The teacher asks the student to grab his Structured Phonics Text folder and find the text for *dge*. The teacher says: “Do you remember what sound this makes? That’s right, it makes a /j/ sound.” Together they find and highlight the words in the text that contain the *dge* pattern. The teacher says: “Now, read this text twice and pay close attention to the words that have this pattern.”

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