ILA Resource Collection: Teaching Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, and Phonological Awareness


Educators seeking answers on how best to teach phonics, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness often find great value in knowing which questions to ask and how to ask them. The resources included in this ILA Resource Collection have been selected to expand knowledge of and guide conversations around the instruction of these three foundational skills in today’s school environments, leading to a deeper understanding of evidence-based reading instruction and student success.

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How to Use This Collection: Teaching Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, and Phonological Awareness

How to Use This Collection: Teaching Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, and Phonological Awareness

Along with suggested resource pairings and discussion prompts, this guide also includes additional resources from ILA such as open-access journal articles.


Heidi Anne Mesmer on Using a Lesson Routine and Prioritizing Useful Letter–Sound Patterns

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Heidi Anne Mesmer on Using a Lesson Routine and Prioritizing Useful Letter–Sound Patterns

What specific techniques can be used to accelerate foundational skills instruction, particularly considering the effects of COVID-19, that are both engaging and effective. *This video is excerpted from a full session.

Speaker(s): Heidi Anne Mesmer


Christina Cassano on Why Phonological Awareness and Phonics Instruction Are Essential to Comprehension

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Christina Cassano on Why Phonological Awareness and Phonics Instruction Are Essential to Comprehension

What decades of research tell us about phoneme-level awareness and phonics instruction, and the importance of instruction being systematic and explicit, playful and meaningful, and applicable to authentic reading and writing. *This video is excerpted from a full session.

Speaker(s): Christina Cassano


Sonia Q. Cabell on Setting the Foundation for Reading Success

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Sonia Q. Cabell on Setting the Foundation for Reading Success

What preschool teachers can do to play on students’ natural curiosity and help develop their decoding skills, phonological awareness, language development, and more. *This video is excerpted from a full session.

Speaker(s): Sonia Q. Cabell


Sonia Q. Cabell, Nell K. Duke, and Gwendolyn McMillon on Dedicating Instructional Time to Phonics Instruction

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Sonia Q. Cabell, Nell K. Duke, and Gwendolyn McMillon on Dedicating Instructional Time to Phonics Instruction

On just how much instructional time during English language arts should be dedicated to phonics instruction in the early grades. *This video is excerpted from a full session. (BONUS: Read Duke’s article mentioned in the video, “Phonics Faux Pas: Avoiding Instructional Missteps in Teaching Letter-Sound Relationships," published by AFT.)


Elementary Teachers’ Knowledge of Foundational Literacy Skills: A Critical Piece of the Puzzle in the Science of Reading

Elementary Teachers’ Knowledge of Foundational Literacy Skills: A Critical Piece of the Puzzle in the Science of Reading

On the effectiveness of training and preparation programs in increasing elementary teachers’ knowledge needed to promote effective reading instruction based on the science of reading.

Author(s): Alida K. Hudson, Karol A. Moore, Bing Han, Poh Wee Koh, Emily Binks-Cantrell, and R. Malatesha Joshi


Everybody’s Selling It—but Just What Is Explicit, Systematic Phonics Instruction?

Everybody’s Selling It—but Just What Is Explicit, Systematic Phonics Instruction?

Defining what explicit, systematic phonics instruction is, incorporating a scope and sequence for content delivery and a variety of word study activities.

Author(s): Heidi Anne E. Mesmer and Priscilla L. Griffith


Key Knowledge to Support Phonological Awareness and Phonics Instruction

Key Knowledge to Support Phonological Awareness and Phonics Instruction

Supporting early childhood and elementary teachers with knowledge about language structures; reading components, processes, and development; and effective instructional practices.

Author(s): Shayne B. Piasta and Alida K. Hudson


The “P” Word Revisited: 8 Principles for Tackling Today’s Questions and Misconceptions About Phonics Instruction

The “P” Word Revisited: 8 Principles for Tackling Today’s Questions and Misconceptions About Phonics Instruction

Principles that clarify common misconceptions and dilemmas about phonics instruction, and why differentiation, orthographic mapping, and contextual reading are necessary in any phonics curriculum.

Author(s): Kevin Flanigan, Katie Solic, and Lisa Gordon


Rethinking Sight Words

Rethinking Sight Words

A look at how sight words should be categorized and coupled with direct and explicit instruction to create a more efficient and effective instructional method in early childhood classrooms.

Author(s): Katharine Pace Miles, Gregory B. Rubin, and Selenid Gonzalez-Frey