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Focus on Phonics (K-3)

Do your students lack basic phonics skills? This online course focuses on effective ways to teach children to decode unknown words. Phonics basics will be emphasized along with specific ways to help students who are struggling in this area. Using context clues and structural analysis as a means of decoding will also be introduced. Suggestions for teaching sight words, high frequency words, and instant words will be shared. Teachers will also learn how to use the making words and chunking strategies as well as how to implement reader’s workshop and literacy stations. Teachers will gain ideas for using the language experience approach to reinforce phonics and spelling skills. The course will also focus on assessment strategies for phonics and decoding, including running records, miscue analysis, and informal reading inventories. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"This course was fabulous. I enjoyed reading each section. There was something in each section that was an "ah-ha" for me." - Patti Fitts


Enrollment Options

Register Course Registration Only $180 with the 10% discount

RegisterCourse Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $387


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Making Sense of Phonics: The Hows and Whys” by Isabel L. Beck and Mark E. Beck

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 72AXX

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41475

Unit One

  • Focus on Phonics
  • A Dictionary of Phonics Terms
  • Introduction to the Common Core Standards for Reading
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography/Write an article reflection

Unit Two

  • Running Records
  • Miscue Analysis
  • Other Informal Phonics Assessments
  • Assignment #2: Assess phonics skills or describe your assessment methods previously used

Unit Three

  • How to Use Diagnostic Information
  • Decoding, Fluency, and Comprehension
  • Decoding and Phonics
  • Assignment #3: Take a phonics quiz

Unit Four

  • Decoding and Structural Analysis
  • Making Words
  • Language Experience Approach
  • Assignment #4: Write a making words lesson

Unit Five

  • Visual and Auditory Discrimination
  • Phonics and Spelling
  • High Frequency and Sight Words
  • Assignment #5: Develop word sort lists

Unit Six

  • Early Reading Strategies
  • Literacy Work Stations
  • Reader's Workshop
  • Assignment #6: Teach a making words lesson or write a script to introduce a making words lesson
  • Assignment #7: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)