Phonics is systematic and explicit instruction designed to teach children the letter-sound correspondences and blending necessary for development of proficient skills in reading.
While development of the skills in phonemic awareness addressed by Orson’s Farm is essential for helping children learn to read, research has shown it is not sufficient for all children. Thus, these children need to be engaged in phonics instruction that systematically identifies the sound-spelling correspondences used during reading. The goal of such instruction is the automatic blending of the phonemes resulting in rapid and accurate identification of words necessary for proficient reading.
The skills practiced while playing the games on Garfield’s Island can be used to reinforce ongoing classroom instruction directed at identifying sound-symbol correspondences and automatic phoneme blending. Fishing with Phonics focuses on identifying beginning and ending sounds, while Match of Mystery focuses on the identification of vowel sounds, including digraphs and dipthongs. Giving children who are engaged in phonics instruction an opportunity to play the games on Garfield’s Island provides educators a valuable standards-based activity to reinforce concepts in an entertaining format. As children complete Fishing with Phonics, they will earn a score that will motivate them to play again and again to try to get a better score. On the other hand, Match of Mystery not only provides the children with a score to beat, but also times each attempt, so children can try to race the clock and obtain the coveted treasure received upon completion of the game. This is just the type of repetition beginning readers need to attain word recognition skills.