Ultimate Phonics Checklist for Success
- Understand the program
- Set regular reading times
- Listen to them read the lessons
- Insist on reading accuracy
- Do the lessons in order
- Lesson 1 is different
- Choosing a starting point
- Master the first 12 lessons
- Do at least one lesson per session
Take time to understand the program
Set aside an hour to read the Ultimate Phonics User’s Guide and experiment with the software. Taking a little time to understand the program insures your success in teaching your children or students to be better readers.
Set regular reading times
To get the most out of Ultimate Phonics you should set aside regular reading times. We recommend using Ultimate Phonics at least 2-3 days per week for 30-60 minutes per session. The quality of the sessions is more important than the quantity.
Of course you should use your own judgment regarding how often to use the program. If your children or students are making good progress and are comfortable with a particular schedule, then it’s the right one for you.
For parents, if you read to your children we suggest including Ultimate Phonics in those reading times. You can trade off reading to each other. When you read to them, you read the same books you normally would. When they read to you, they read from Ultimate Phonics. Tell them when they finish reading their Ultimate Phonics program they’ll be able to read books just like you do.
Listen to them read the lessons
It’s very important you listen to your children or students read the lessons out loud. The Ultimate Phonics software teaches them in great detail how to read all the 4,400 words and 2,100 sentences in 262 lessons. But the software only shows them how to read the material, it doesn’t test them. Our test is actually listening to them read.
We recommend the following routine: first have your children or students review the current lesson on the computer, then listen to them read the same lesson to verify they have learned it. When they read the lessons to you, they can read from either the computer screen or the Words and Sentences pdf. Either way it is the same material.
Insist on reading accuracy
When you listen to your children or students read from the Ultimate Phonics program it is very important you insist on reading accuracy. No guessing or skipping allowed!
If you are doing the lessons in order, there is no need for them to guess. The program is expertly designed so that in every lesson they have already learned everything they need to sound out all the words and sentences.
When they misread or skip a word, stop them and ask them to look at the word again and sound it out. If necessary, find the word in the Ultimate Phonics software and review it. By insisting on accuracy throughout the program, they become fluent, accurate readers with good comprehension.
Do the lessons in order
The lessons in Ultimate Phonics are designed to be learned in order, since each lesson builds on concepts taught in earlier lessons. If students skip over earlier lessons they miss out on important rules needed for reading later lessons. This puts them right back in the position of having to guess, which is one of the major problems we are correcting.
However, if you are an experienced teacher using Ultimate Phonics as a supplement to another reading program, you can skip around and choose the lessons that complement whichever phonics rules you are teaching. The easiest way to do this is with the Find feature in the software. Many teachers use Ultimate Phonics this way and find it a very valuable supplement.
Lesson 1 is different
Lesson 1 is different from the other lessons in Ultimate Phonics. Its purpose is to provide a review of the consonants and their basic sounds, which we need to get started reading words and sentences.
We assume your children and students already know the names of the letters of the alphabet before starting the program. Ideally they will also be somewhat familiar with the basic sounds of these letters. You can use Lesson 1 to review these basic sounds whenever necessary.
When first starting Ultimate Phonics, we recommend that you review the contents of Lesson 1 with your students, then go straight into Lesson 2 to begin actual reading.
Choosing a starting point
Normally you should start your children or students at the beginning of Ultimate Phonics and proceed through the lessons in order. Because we begin at the most basic level of reading (“fat”, “cat”, “rat”), you may wonder if the beginning lessons are too easy for some students.
There’s an easy way to tell if some students can start the program in a later lesson. Take the Words and Sentences pdf and have them read the lessons out loud, starting with Lesson 2. As long as they are reading fluently and accurately, have them continue to read the lessons in order.
As soon as they come to a lesson where you notice any tendency to misread words or read very slowly, that should be the starting lesson. Remember, it never hurts to review material they already know. If they really know it, the reading should go quickly and easily. If they don’t really know it, then it’s critical they correctly learn the material now.
Master the ﬁrst 12 lessons
For beginning readers of any age it is very important that they thoroughly master the material in the first 12 lessons before going on to the later lessons. These lessons teach the two and three letter words with short vowels, which from a phonics perspective are the simplest words in English.
For children or students who begin Ultimate Phonics struggling with these basic words, think of the first 12 lessons as a mini-program within the larger program. Make a pass through these lessons in order, then another pass. As you see them start to improve, jump around among the first 12 lessons, reviewing them randomly.
When you are confident that they can read all of the words in the first 12 lessons with fluency and 100% accuracy, you are now ready to proceed through the remaining 250 lessons of the program.
Do at least one lesson per session
In a typical session using Ultimate Phonics, students should try to cover at least one lesson. The lessons are designed to be fairly short. Each lesson teaches a single phonics rule, a set of words that use that rule, and a set of sentences that use the new words as well as words from earlier lessons. The average lesson teaches around 20 words and 8-10 sentences.
Ideally in a session, students will review all the words and sentences in the current lesson on the computer, then read that material aloud to the parent or teacher to demonstrate their mastery. Students can review the lessons as often as needed if they are having trouble. As soon as students can read a lesson accurately, they can go on to the next lesson.
Use the right-click feature
One of the most powerful features in Ultimate Phonics which is often overlooked is right-clicking. There are three ways we use right-clicking:
- When looking at a Word List, right-click any word on the list to see the word broken down and sounded out.
- When looking at a broken down Word, right-click any letter pattern in the word to jump to the lesson where that letter pattern was first introduced. There you can see an entire family of words using the same letter pattern.
- When looking at a Sentence, right-click any word in the sentence to see the word broken down and sounded out. This includes all of the words introduced in earlier lessons.
Provide plenty of praise and encouragement
Ultimate Phonics is an excellent reading program that teaches children and students to be better readers with a direct, complete, and effective approach. It does not have the cartoon bells and whistles typically found in “edutainment” software. However, its results are far superior to any cartoon edutainment software on the market.
In terms of praise and encouragement, this must be provided by you, the parent or teacher. When your children or students read well, praise and compliment them. When they struggle, be patient and encourage them. By being involved in this way, you make the process of learning to read enjoyable and rewarding.