Teaching Phonics to STEM Kids

Last year I tried to teach Summer to read. She hated it! “She will read when she is ready.” “Just keep reading to her, she will eventually like it.” None of these tips worked and despite the reassurance, I was sure my kinder who seemed to excel at math would NEVER learn to read.

Over the summer I was gifted a wealth of elementary curriculum and materials among them was a phonics program written by a former teacher. As Summer and I are working our way through the program her reading ability particularly her ability to sound out words has greatly increased. The foundation of the program is teaching the student onsets and rimes. By learning these parts of words students are able to use this information to sound out words. For a brain that likes to decode this is awesome!

“What in the world is an onset,” you say?

An onset is the first part of a word. So if we look at the word spot. SP would be an onset and OT would be a rime. Learning these common sounds allows students to be able to effectively sound out words like spring, SP-R-ING. SP is an onset, R is also an onset your student will learn and ING is a rime. Teaching students to spell this way allows them to decode the word using a formula they already know. I quiz Summer on onsets and rimes on a weekly basis.

I quiz Summer on onsets and rimes on a weekly basis. Usually giving her sounds to spell out while she eating breakfast or a snack. She thinks its funny as I try to “trick” her with new sounds. I typically work off of a list of common words alongside the program I was given but here is a list of common onsets and rimes here.


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