Book Recommendation- Making Sense of Phonics by Isabel L. Beck


Who should read – Anyone who need to freshen up their knowledge in phonics teaching

Readability – 8/10

My note –

First of all some jargons in phonics teaching. See if you know the underlined vocabs.

  • orthography
  • vowel diphthongs and vowel digraphs
  • grapheme

In short, orthography is about the language writing (spelling) system. The invented spelling, or pseudowords, is often applied here to test students’ ability in connecting speech sounds and written words.

Grapheme is the smallest written representation of speech sounds. For example, ‘man’ has 3 graphemes: m,a,n, ‘chain’ has 3 graphemes: ch, ai, n

Vowel digraphs and vowel diphthongs are both refer to the vowel combinations. Vowel digraphs, as most teachers are familiar with, refer to long vowel sounds represented by 2 digraphs. A diphthong, however, is a single speech sound that begins with 1 vowel sound and moves to another, as in the words cow, few, and soil.

Generally this is a very practical and user-friendly book, I also find it very useful in reminding vetaran teachers. Well, as we all know that sometimes it is easy to miss the target in doing drills. In What do children need to know and be able to do to read words, Beck outlines the objectives in phonics teaching:

  • They need to know the speech sounds associated with written letters in words.
  • They need to know how to put those sounds together to form a pronounceable word.
  • They need to have a strong sense of English orthography.
  • They need to recognize words rapidly.

There are also a lot of updated research findings of phonics teaching and learning.

Teachers, any phonics-related books to recommend?

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