Phonological awareness, or being able to hear the sounds that make up spoken words, is essential and one of the first steps for any young learner to become a successful reader and writer. As children learn to associate those spoken sounds with written letters and words, a solid foundation to reading and writing is being carefully crafted.

At GrapeSEED, we greatly value the importance of phonological awareness and phonics, which is why Vertical Phonics is the first of our seamlessly integrated Five Platforms for supporting the development of English oral language acquisition.

GrapeSEED’s Vertical Phonics approach is unique. Rather than teaching sounds of letters separately and one at a time over a period of time, as is typically found in most schools, Vertical Phonics instead teaches students all sounds of a letter or combination of letters at one time in the order of frequency, with those used most often presented first. This method of phonics learning is highly advantageous for multiple reasons. First, with repeated practice, students grow to know the phoneme-phonogram relationships so well that they are soon able to automatically provide the proper phoneme(s) (sound) when shown the phonogram (letter). Next, as they learn and internalize the sounds of each phonogram in the order of frequency, students are then more successful when attempting to decode new words. Also, when it comes to our beginning readers and writers, learning the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sounds of certain phonograms increases the number of words that a child is able to decode on her or his own, all but eliminating uncertain guessing and building student confidence. Finally, the GrapeSEED approach of Vertical Phonics intentionally avoids confusing diacritical marks and linguistic terms (like “long” and “short” vowels, for example), instead teaching phonograms that are found right within English words. This approach is especially helpful and practical for our youngest English learners, and is in alignment with our natural approach to acquiring language.

The GrapeSEED Components pictured above provide a glimpse into how our Vertical Phonics approach works within the context of continuous text. For example, students will learn the sounds associated with each letter, using our Phonogram Cards and Phonogram Word Cards. The letters and their sounds are then carried right into our carefully crafted Shared Reading Poems, giving children the opportunity to hear, see and identify the sounds and letters being taught within the context of continuous text.

By providing young students with a strong foundation in phonological awareness and teaching them the relationship of the sounds with print, students’ literacy development will flourish. And isn’t that what we all want for our students? To learn more about GrapeSEED and Vertical Phonics, contact us!

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