We believe all students can learn to read regardless of background or opportunity. As former teachers, we have used effective literacy curricula but the phonics component didn’t seem to move all students forward at a rate commensurate with what was expected for the majority of our young readers.
Upon preliminary research, we discovered most literacy curricula used an analytic phonics approach for teaching phonics. Further investigation led us to the realization that some of our students needed very specific letter-sound instruction with blending practice. As we implemented different programs with students, we found that a combination of synthetic and analytic approaches would be best.
Building Blocks Phonics is a complete, explicit, systematic, supplemental phonics curriculum that teaches all 44 sounds of English. The scope and sequence are laid out so that each module builds on the previous module, supporting every new phonetic concept introduced and never asking students to make a leap that they are not prepared to make.
In addition to the explicit scope and sequence, we give the why behind the how. We have found that this additional information supplies students with a greater understanding of decoding. Because we initially rely upon the synthetic approach of individual letter sounds, students have a rich phonemic awareness, blending and decoding ability that exceeds other students not taught with BBP. Because we can be sure that students have a strong foundation of individual sounds, BBP changes focus to a more analytic approach asking students to apply what they learned in order to decode and read words fluently. As fluency and automaticity build students ability to comprehend increases. When you follow BBP scope and sequence you are addressing three of the five essential components of reading instruction:
- phonemic awareness
With these three components addressed, fluency and comprehension are initiated. Students make the mental shift from learning to read to reading to learn.