· By Jen Jones
The Backbone of Your Phonics Instruction
Not only is a phonic skill scope and sequence the backbone of your phonics instruction, it's literally the starting point for everyone phonics instruction related in your classroom, from assessment, whole group instruction, small group instruction, interventions, everything. Most big box curriculums include a skill scope and sequence, but some big box curriculums do not include decodables.
It is important to note here that within and among the international literacy community there is zero disagreement that a Phonics Skill Scope and Sequence is absolutely necessary in order for "systematic, explicit phonics instruction" to occur...the shining star of the National Reading Panel Report (2000). However, it is also noteworthy that those same literacy experts & gurus within and among the literacy community cannot agree on the exact order of skills...as in there is no one Universal Phonics Skill Order Scope & Sequence. But wouldn't that be nice?? I do not think that is going to happen, so don't hold your breath. Fortunately, the agreement on the order is this, that the skills are taught in a "simple to complex skill order." That means, short vowels and consonants are taught before long vowels. That means, consonant digraphs are taught before vowel digraphs.
So, because the Scope and Sequence is the backbone of phonics instruction, that means it is also the backbone of the decodables BECAUSE the words in every decodable build on the previous skills taught, so the skills are successive. Successive means if I teach short vowels, consonants, schwa and r-controlled er, ir, ur in the pink Hello Decodables, that all the books in the next set, the Orange Decodables will include all of the pink skills: short vowels, consonants, schwa and r-controlled er, ir, ur + the new skills taught in orange: consonant blends. Let take a look at the simple to complex order of skills in the 60 Hello Decodables.
Each Hello Decodable book is dedicated to targeting one (or two) new phonics skills + all previous skills. Collectively, in the Hello Decodables Series of 60 books, there are 107 phonics skills targeted throughout the books.