Right-Brained Phonics & Spelling Explained

Child1st phonics and spelling resources are designed for whole-brain learning that offers equity in learning to right-brain processors. We took phonics content which is already perfectly suited to left-brain learners, embedded the letters and words in images, and utilized other right-brain elements so visual/spatial learners can remember through their visual and body memory.

Who are Left- and Right-Brain Learners?

Children are neurodiverse. On The Learning Spectrum we find that 37% of children are left-brain processors or auditory/sequential. They think in words, like steps and sequences, can work with symbols and details, benefit from repetition and drill (memorization). Also, we see that 63% of children are right-brain processors or visual/spatial learners. They think in pictures, need the big picture before they can process details, need to make connections between elements, make their own steps for solving, need visuals (images, graphs, maps), need hands-on, learn through movement, and in regular classrooms, the more right-brained they are, the more they need connections made for them.

What is Phonics?

Phonics relates the phonemes (sounds) in words to the letters that represent them (graphemes). Fluency with phonics is essential to making good readers. The make-or-break question is how we teach phonics and whether or not that approach successfully reaches right-brain learners. Child1st offers a comprehensive, explicit, systematic approach to teaching phonics and spelling that will prepare children across The Learning Spectrum to read, leaving nothing to guesswork.

Teaching Phonics and Spelling

The Child1st approach is unique in its whole-brain design that is inclusive of right-brain learners. From the beginning, we emphasize phonemic awareness, or the art of hearing the individual sounds in words. As children focus on listening, we practice segmenting words into their discrete sounds, and then quite simply, we use a right-brain approach to teach them how to represent those sounds on papers using symbols.

We focus on phonics (representing sounds with symbols) because this is the exact point at which a child will begin to struggle in learning to read. Phonics and spelling are two sides to one coin. If a child learns how to represent sounds using letters and letter combinations, they will be able to write the word correctly and read the word with ease. Our spelling approach avoids memorizing sequences of letter names and instead uses the sound/spelling approach which requires no memorization.

The Illustrated Book of Sounds & Their Spelling PatternsSounds & Their Spelling Patterns has identified all the sounds in our language and offers a right-brain approach that avoids memorization of letter names. Children will learn phonics and spelling at the same time.
The book is leveled as to difficulty, starting at zero and moving clear through to the most advanced sound spellings in our language. This approach has worked beautifully to bring children up to grade level in reading.

Sound Spelling Display Cards
Sound Spelling Display Cards will help you teach the structure of words in a way that is kid-friendly for all children including visual and kinesthetic learners.
This set includes 35, 8.5 x 11” full-color cards with each card representing one sound in the English language. All the sounds are taught. Instead of teaching one WORD at a time, we have found that teaching one SOUND at a time is a very effective way to get children spelling and reading with success!

Sound Spelling Teaching CardsSound Spelling Teaching Cards are actually right-brain phonics cards. Every sound is taught and each spelling for each sound has its own teaching card. Right-brain elements make memorizing phonics concepts a thing of the past.
Child1st's Sound Spelling Teaching Cards teach children to listen to the sounds in words, and then equip them to spell those sounds. With these new skills, children will be equipped to quickly analyze and read new words.

Phonics FAQ's

Q When should a child be introduced to phonics?

A You can begin in Kindergarten if you use a right-brain approach that utilizes images, body movement, and makes connections for learning. 

Q What is the difference between phonics and phonemic awareness?

A Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear sounds that combine to make a word. Children can learn to distinguish sounds if we focus on that skill as primary. Phonics is the art of representing those sounds with their "picture" or the letters that represent the sounds.

Q What is segmenting? What is blending?

A Segmenting is simply the practice of identifying the individual sounds in words. You can begin playing with segmenting with kids in preschool. Say a word outloud and ask the children to focus on what they hear. Segment for them at first, then ask them to segment with you. Finally, with practice, you can just say a word and children will be able to break the word apart on their own.

Blending is the other side of the coin. You will say the distinct sounds you hear in the word, then say them closer together, and finally you will say the word.

Q What is phonetic spelling and do you recommend it?

Phonetic spelling is the same as invented spelling, which was a trend in early education. The idea was to just encourage children to begin to write words using the letters that made sense to them. For example, a child might write FONIX for phonics. Or PENSL for pencil.

It is very detrimental to encourage phonetic spelling because once children combine sounding and writing, what they write will stick with them and replacing the incorrect spellings later will be very difficult. In my kindergarten class, children drew a picture and captioned it every morning and their spelling was often incorrect. Our practice was to use the words they wanted to write as springboards to teaching correct phonics/spelling.

Want to Learn More About Phonics and Spelling?

We love to help! If you have any questions about this whole brain approach or need tips for teaching, please reach out to us! Contact us today and let's tackle phonics and spelling together!