Phonics instruction teaches children the relationships between the letters (graphemes) of written language and the individual sounds (phonemes) of spoken language.
Phonics in Reading Recovery lessons


In Reading Recovery, individual assessments reveal

  • upper and lower case letters the child can identify by naming the letter, giving the letter sound, or naming a word beginning with the letter or sound.
  • phonemes the child can connect to letters.
  • specific phonemes the child can represent with letters in writing.
  • the degree to which children use letter-sound knowledge and word patterns to read and write words.
  • the degree to which the child can locate words in a text after hearing them.
  • the child’s ability to use letter-sound knowledge while reading continuous text.

Examples of Instructional Procedures

  • Using magnetic letters, children learn quick and flexible recognition of letters; they also learn how to take words apart using phonological and orthographic knowledge.
  • When reading continuous text, children learn to take words apart ‘on the run.’
  • In writing, children learn to hear the sounds in words and represent them with letters or letter clusters.
  • Children work with letters and related sounds (e.g., making personalized alphabet books to link sounds and letters).
  • Reassembling a cut-up sentence requires children to think about sounds in words as they place the words in order; the teacher segments words to focus on what a child needs to learn next.
  • During oral reading of texts, children learn to use phonological and orthographic information to monitor their reading and to decode unfamiliar words; they learn to ‘take words apart’ on the run while reading texts.

Clay, M. M. (2002). An observation survey of early literacy achievement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.