Phonics can be confusing but we feel that a strong understanding of how and why the English language uses letters and letter combinations to create different sounds not only improves spelling but also reading.
When your child comes home and talks about “coding”, they are talking about how we break words down in class to “DE-CODE” words so that we can sound them out and/or spell them.
When we code we look for different things:
VOWELS (We label these with a v under the vowel. Recognizing vowels and the different sounds they make is a skill your child learned in kindergarten. If this is a step they are struggling with, practice locating vowels in the environment with your child. read the word to him and ask if it is making the long or short sound. Long Vowels get coded with a macron over them. Short Vowels are coded with a breeve over them.)
CONSONANTS (We label consonants with a c under the consonant. Recognizing consonants is important to understanding that each makes a unique sound. This was also a skill your child learned in kidergarten. By identifying these and their sounds, students can recognize patterns and groups in words.)
TWIN CONSONANTS (We look for special consonants in words that are “twins”; the same consonant repeated. We work to build an understanding with students that in certain circumstances, consonants are doubled but when we read the word, we do not pronounce both letters. When we code, we cross out the twin to remind us that it is silent.)
BLENDS (Blends are 2 or 3 consonants that come together so smoothly that you BARELY hear each sound. Examples: spr, tr, st, cl, bl…When coding, we circle blends.)
DIGRAPHS (A digraph is 2 letters that come together to make 1 sound. Examples: th, ck, sh, ng…When coding, we underline digraphs.)
SUFFIX (A suffix is added to the end of a word (root word) to change the meaning of a word. Examples: s, ed, ing…When we code a suffix, we box it up “and mail it to grandma” to get rid of it from the rest of the word. To make sure that there is indeed a suffix, cover up the suffix…if there isn’t a vowel left, you do not have a suffix.)
VOWEL-CONSONANT-CONSONANT-VOWEL PATTERN VCCV (These letter patterns occur in longer words with multiple syllables. By identifying these patterns, students can break longer words into smaller chunks (syllables) to code them and figure out words they are reading/spelling. When we code the vccv pattern, we split the word between the 2 consonants with a straight line.)