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Fairfield Community School District

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Visual Phonics: A System for Assisting Beginning Readers

Teachers are always looking for ways to support beginning reading concepts.  The system of Visual Phonics is used by Speech Language Pathologists, and was shared a few years ago with Fairfield elementary teachers by GPAEA Speech clinicians.  Since then, the district has seen several new teachers arrive.  In an effort to ensure every student receives equitable instruction, the district reviewed Visual Phonics concepts during the November professional development session with all elementary staff.  Teacher leaders modeled for their colleagues and we had clarifying conversations about letter/sound combinations that have been modified over the years. 

The system of Visual Phonics combines unique hand cues and symbols that represent the sounds of English.  Students learn the hand cues for each consonant, as well as long and short vowels.  It is a kinesthetic approach that activates both sides of the brain.  This program has been proven to increase the speed at which Kindergarten students learn phoneme awareness & letter/sound recognition.  It also helps ease the confusion between confusable letters such as b/p.  This unique program also helps students learn to see and feel where each letter sound is produced. 

Fairfield teachers understand the importance of this simple reading support strategy and encourage you to utilize it at home as well.  Please watch the brief 3-minute clip of how each letter of the alphabet is represented with a visual motion.  This video was made at Washington Elementary and has been shared with staff members at all three buildings to help ensure uniform instructional delivery.