Phonics Fails

Since English is weird, it is easy to get tripped up in attempts to present phonics instruction. As is pointed out in Phonics Faux Paus (one article in this pdf edition of American Educator), some examples that are used in teaching can be less than ideal. An alphabet chart that uses the word “xylophone” for the letter x is confusing, since the x makes the sound of /z/. The book “P is for Pterodactyl – The Worst Alphabet Book Ever” by  Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter is all about some problematic words. Another book by these authors is “No Reading Allowed: The WORST Read-Aloud Book Ever.”

The alphabet chart below from includes some advanced phonics patterns a beginning reader would not be expected to know. This company provides some pretty neat things at their free teaching resources like High Frequency Word Charts, infographics, and games. But this alphabet chart I would skip.


At Phonics Pow, efforts are made to avoid using words that have patterns before they are introduced in a logical sequence. Research shows that phonics instruction should be systematic (presented in a logical sequence) and explicit (directly taught). Check out the Phonics Pow Toolkit.

Author: dailyplanit

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

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