Is your school teaching phonics effectively? This month the International Literacy Association (ILA) issued a brief on “Meeting the Challenges of Early Literacy Phonics Instruction” stating the need for systematic and explicit instruction in phonics as one critical component in overall reading instruction. While all students benefit from systematic and explicit instruction in phonics, students with dyslexia likely won’t achieve literacy without it.
ILA is a large organization with over 300,000 members and its most recent position on the phonics debate most closely aligns with the CA Education Code, the CA Dyslexia Guidelines and the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of Structured Literacy (with respect to phonics instruction). As more and more organizations are in agreement on the most effective way to teach phonics, we must determine if our schools are adhering to these practices. Sadly, many “balanced literacy” programs used in our California classrooms do not teach systematic and explicit phonics that will benefit all students, particularly our students with dyslexia.