F▪am▪i▪ly Phonics

Getting Started
Word Families
About Us
About the Site
Timothy, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed,
knowing those from whom you learned,
and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching,
for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be complete,
equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17--HCSB)

We believe that the greatest reason to teach one's child to read is so they can learn God's Word for themselves.  This is a central theme of this reading course.  Not only can we read letters which are written to us from friends and relatives far away, but we can read the greatest love letter of all, sent to us from God above, the Bible. God actually decided to speak to us, to address us in our human language.  Many of the sentences and readings in Family Phonics are adapted from the Bible to teach our children wisdom and to encourage their love for God's words to us.

We also believe that the best place for a child to learn to read is sitting on their parent's lap, experiencing the interaction, gentle guidance, loving reinforcement, praise, and mutual joy in the process of learning.  This personal parent-child interaction also provides the perfect personalized tutor-student environment.  Family Phonics provides a framework within which each child can experience a maximally personalized program that's just right for them.  Family Phonics provides the structure; the parent guides their child along; the child masters each pattern at their own pace.

History backs the wisdom of these two foundational principles, for in our country's early years, a nation of readers was trained by their parents with the Bible as a primary goal for reading.  Many a frontier home had but two books in the house: the family Bible and an Almanac.  The Bible itself was often the only "primer" available to teach reading.

In addition to the historical precedent, an abundance of educational research has confirmed that the single most reliable predictor of a child's success in reading and at school is the amount of time parents spend reading to them.  When parents enjoy reading to their children, the kids pick up on their love for reading and for learning.  Reading in the home encourages the child to love to read as a means of enjoyment.  It becomes fun, entertainment, and a valued way to spend one's time.

The Family Phonics reading program is a synthetic-phonics, pattern-based approach.  We take as self-evident the fact that English is written in an alphabetic script related to the sounds (phonemes) of our language.  The symbols of the alphabet are in turn combined (synthesized) to form words.  This is the basic alphabetic principle.

But our code in English is not a simple one-to-one correspondence because of two historical facts.  One is the fact that our alphabet was borrowed from Latin and was only partially adapted to the specifics of our language.  The other is the fact that the sound system of our language (and all languages) starts off complex enough, and then it changes with the passing centuries, complicating matters further.  So we end up with patterns of letter combinations that inform our reading knowledge in addition to the simple sound-values of individual letters.

Linguistic theory agrees with the findings of educational research concerning what patterns are most relevant for reading.  It is the phonemic patterns at the end of syllables that matter most.  Linguists call this part of the syllable the rime, but educators have identified them with word families, which is the label we will use here on Family Phonics.

This discussion briefly explains the value of a synthetic-phonics (putting together the building blocks of letters), pattern-based (recognizing groups of letters, especially by word families) literacy method.  You can find more information in the Getting Started section, as well as in the page of Research references.

So while the term "Phonics" used by itself is very broad and can apply to any course of instruction which teaches the relationship between the alphabet and phonemes of the language, here at Family Phonics we are using a systematic, structured approach specifically based on extensive research. Not all reading programs are of the same merit. Some are more effective than others.

Of course no program will ever be perfect.  Even if the program were perfect for one child, it wouldn't  be for the next, for God has made each child unique with his or her own gifts and strengths and weaknesses. Children learn to walk and talk in their own way and time. So too with reading.  Each child learns at their own pace and with unique challenges and victories.  So while we cannot claim a perfect program, Family Phonics does allow the perfect flexibility to fit the reading lessons to each child's unique learning curve.

May God bless your family through the joy of learning, coupled with the joy of reading together, and most importantly, mixed with the joy of hearing his voice through his written Word!

Joe Friberg, President
Family Phonics

© Copyright 1998-2007 Joe A. Friberg. All Rights Reserved.