This toolkit helps teachers and families understand what the alphabetic principle and phonics are and how to support a child's development of these important reading skills.

You will learn:

  • What the alphabetic principle and phonics are and why they are important.
  • How teachers should teach the alphabetic principle and phonics.
  • How families can support alphabetic principle and phonics development.

This toolkit includes:

  • Definitions
  • Online Tutorial
  • Research Briefs & Infographics
  • Expert Advice
  • Instructional Video
  • Resources for Teachers & Families

Definitions

Alphabetic Principle

The idea that letters and groups of letters match individual sounds in words.

Phonics

Reading instruction on understanding how letters and groups of letters link to sounds to form letter-sound relationships and spelling patterns.

Online Tutorial

Build your knowledge and advance your skills. Gain the strategies you need to teach this topic with confidence.

What is Phonics? Why is it important? How should it be taught? Learn the answer to these and other questions about Phonics.

Supporting Materials

Learn more about how to support a child's development of these important reading skills.

The Alphabetic Principle: From Phonological Awareness to Reading Words Inforgraphic

The alphabetic principle is a critical skill that involves connecting letters with their sounds to read and write. Learning and applying the alphabetic principle takes time and is difficult for most children.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Beginning Reading
Learning About Your Child’s Reading Development

Learning to read is difficult and does not happen naturally. It requires explicit and systematic instruction, which is especially important for struggling readers. Learning to read involves many different skills that must be taught to your child.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Beginning Reading
Book

Expert: Jess Surles

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Beginning Reading, Interventions

Spotlight on Instruction

Watch this video about how to teach students to decode words, analyze word parts, and write and recognize words.

Jeanne Wanzek, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University and Carol Dissen, Expert Literacy Coach at the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon, present on Recommendation 3: Teach students to decode words, analyze word parts, and write and recognize words, from the Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade: Practice Guide (WWC).

Resources for Teachers

Explore these on-topic resources, tips, and tools for teaching the alphabetic principle and phonics. Find the materials that work best for your classroom.

Reading Rockets

Learn how to deliver activities that focus on alphabet letters and sounds; download related activities; and find supporting materials.

Topic: Phonics

Reading Rockets

Learn how to match books to readers based on phonics instruction.

Topic: Phonics

National Center on Intensive Interventions

This lesson on phonics may be used to supplement reading instruction to meet student needs.

Topic: Phonics

Doing What Works

A reading specialist demonstrates modeling, guided practice (i.e., I do, We do, You do), and error correction strategies during an intensive one-on-one lesson on letter sounds.

Topic: Phonics, Interventions

Achieve the Core

Watch the first half of a two-part video series on phonics that includes teaching tips and connections to the Common Core State Standards.

Topic: Phonics

Achieve the Core

Watch the second half of a two-part video series on phonics that includes teaching tips and connections to the Common Core State Standards.

Topic: Phonics

Resources for Parents and Families

Check out this collection of resources and activities that can help you support your child's development of the alphabetic principle and phonics at home.

Reading Rockets

Learn how to deliver activities that focus on alphabet letters and sounds; download related activities; and find supporting materials.

Topic: Phonics

National Center for Families Learning

Find easy ways to practice foundational reading skills with your child in grades K-3. It only takes a few minutes each day, but practice makes a big difference!

Topic: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics

Get Ready to Read!

These 36 activity cards from Get Ready to Read! are fun, engaging, child-friendly early literacy activities to try with 3- to 5-year-olds. The activities are organized by skill level and type of skill in the areas of print knowledge, emergent writing, and linguistic awareness. Each activity card states which specific skill the activity addresses.

Topic: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Writing

Just Read, Florida!

Print this activity sheet (on thicker stock paper if you have it). Cut apart the alphabet cards to create a deck of cards for playing letter and sounds games with your Kindergartner through second grader.

Topic: Phonics

Institute of Education Sciences

Check out these evidence-based classroom practices that you might be able to adapt for home-use. (But please note that research has not investigated the efficacy of these practices in home contexts).

Topic: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency with Text

Explore More

Teacher and Class

This toolkit helps teachers and families understand the difference between phonemic and phonological awareness and how to support a child's development of these important reading skills.

Kids reading around a tress

This toolkit helps teachers and families understand what fluency is and how to support a child’s development of fluency with text.