Phonics Fitness teaches children, 3 - 6 years old, alphabet letter recognition and sound association skills through a combination of animation, music, and exercise.
Letter sound association which is critical to success in reading and writing is taught in association with a key word.
The program takes only three minutes daily and is designed to be used as an active learning break for the whole class or at home.
There are 33 days of programming and a new letter is introduced daily along with continual repetition so that students will master letter recognition, sound association and learn to blend some 3-letter words.
The flexibility of the program allows lessons to be repeated to accommodate the learning needs of all children.
Phonics Fitness provides the structure to strengthen your existing literacy program and the active format makes learning fun, enhancing memory and learning.
Carol McCabe has developed the concept for Phonics Fitness over several years of successfully teaching children to read. She has been in the education field for 40 years, has her Masters of Education (Special Education) and is a trained and experienced Reading Recovery Teacher Leader.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why teach phonics?
Developing strong literacy skills is critical to a child’s success in school and beyond. Current research shows that alphabet knowledge in Kindergarten is the key skill which predicts future success in reading and writing. Mastering effective letter sound association ensures students will become better readers.
I already teach Phonics why do I need Phonics Fitness?
Most Kindergarten and Grade One classrooms today promote a balanced literacy approach which incorporates some phonics instruction but the phonics instruction is not generally presented in a structured sequence.
The National Reading Panel says: “systematic and explicit phonics instruction significantly improves kindergarten and first grade children’s word recognition and spelling”
Phonics Fitness provides that explicit programming and structure in a format that provides an active learning break and takes only 3 minutes daily.
Do I have to change my existing literacy and phonics program?
No, Phonics Fitness is designed to strengthen and reinforce the programming you already do. It provides another learning opportunity in an engaging format that promotes memory and learning.
I notice there are only 33 days of programming. What do I do after the 33 days?
Phonics Fitness is designed to be flexible. The whole program can be repeated once it’s been covered or you can go back and review just individual vowel sections. Once you’ve established a daily active learning break you’ll want to continue it and students will continue to learn and benefit from it.
I notice you only use lower case letters. I want my students to also recognize upper case.
Phonics Fitness is designed to teach students to master the letter sound connection to improve their reading skills. Most text is lowercase and students need to know it well to read. Through your regular classroom programming you can continue to teach the students upper case letters.
Phonics Fitness introduces letters in a different order than I do. How did you come up with the order?
I have successfully taught children to learn to read for many years and determined the order based on that experience introducing most common letters first and making sure not to have visually confusing letters b/d presented too close together.
I think introducing one letter a day is too fast for my students. Can I change it?
Phonics Fitness is designed around daily lessons of 3 minutes each in which a new letter is introduced but there is constant repetition of previous letters. At any time you can review a lesson or a week of lessons to meet the individual learning needs of your students.
My students know the consonants but have more trouble with the short vowel sounds. How will this program help them?
Students typically have more trouble remembering the short vowel sounds. The lessons are structured in units based on the 5 short vowels sounds and the vowels sounds are repeated much more than the consonant sounds to promote mastery of them.
I want my students to also learn long vowel sounds why don’t you include them?
The short vowel sounds and consonants are the key to getting starting in reading and writing. You can teach long vowel sounds as part of your regular programming. Part 2 of Phonics Fitness will teach blends, digraphs and long vowel sounds.
I want to use Phonics Fitness but I don’t have a smartboard?
It can also be displayed on a tablet or on a computer screen. In fact if the students are close enough you can hold a smartphone up and play it as long as they can hear and see the letters and words.
I don’t think my students are ready to recognize the words displayed. Is this program too advanced for them?
The students can learn the alphabet and letter sound association without learning to recognize the key words. The program is designed for differentiated instruction so that those students who are ready will learn to recognize the words as well.
Most of my Kindergarten students are ELL. Is this program too advanced for them?
No, the program will in fact help to accelerate their learning of the letter sound connection and letter recognition skills. The actions and key words will also build some core vocabulary for them.
How is Phonics Fitness different from Jolly Phonics?
Phonics Fitness and Jolly Phonics both recognize the importance of teaching phonics systematically to young children.
In Phonics Fitness, music, actions and the repetition of letter sound associations to a key word teach the phonics skills in a format that’s fun and easy to use in 3 minutes a day.
In Jolly Phonics the teachers reads a poem that has actions and words that have the same letter sound association.
How does Phonics Fitness connect to a handwriting program?
There are four main components to learning about letters. Phonics Fitness focuses and teaches to mastery the three main components of letter recognition, letter naming and letter sound association. Once these are known a child can more easily focus on the fourth letter formation. If you have an existing handwriting program you like you can continue to use it while using Phonics Fitness even though the letters are presented in a different order. In the future Phonics Fitness will have worksheets provided which will include letter formation for those teachers who want to have a written component follow the active learning session.