Educational Resources to Support Structured Literacy and Science of Reading

Bluewater Phonics resources are multisensory phonics resources that support diverse learner profiles in core programming and special education in Kindergarten-Third grade.

The Science of Reading recognizes phonics as an important component in early, effective reading education.[i] Bluewater Phonics resources are high-quality materials that support engaging and interactive structured phonics instruction. Bluewater Phonics can be used to support the delivery of any systematic phonics Scope/Sequence and program(s) that schools are accessing. The resources align with, and can be used in conjunction with, any phonemic awareness program to further support students in building foundation skills.

Educators can utilize a variety of the materials during explicit instruction to build upon previous knowledge, provide interactive learning opportunities, and provide timely and corrective feedback. As students develop their ability to blend and segment individual sounds within words, the engaging materials help readers strengthen their working memory of the corresponding letters and spelling patterns, making retrieval more successful.
The ultimate purpose of reading is comprehension - being able to understand what we read. To comprehend written text, word recognition is a core foundational skill. To develop automaticity in word recognition, explicit instruction in phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics is essential to support students as they learn to read and write.[ii] Bluewater Phonics resources utilize intuitive pictures and gestures, along with scaffolded prompts to support readers in consolidating letter-sound knowledge. This enables students to move from decoding to engaging in the process of orthographic mapping - the process that all successful readers use to become fluent readers.[iii]

Develop Literacy Skills Through Whole-Brain Play and Practice
As students begin to apply their knowledge of phonological and phonemic awareness to blend and segment short words, early readers quickly encounter words that cannot be read using only individual letter sounds. Readers must learn more advanced digraphs, vowel teams, diphthongs, and split digraphs to move beyond CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words to decode longer texts,[xii] referred to collectively in Bluewater Phonics resources as Letter Groups. Lacking this ability is often the barrier to improvements in reading development. “When a child struggles with decoding, fluency is decreased, accuracy is compromised, errors occur, and the energy needed for comprehension is depleted by the effort required to simply decode.”[xiii]
By assigning a memorable character, gesture, and colour to each sound, Bluewater Phonics resources offer thoughtfully crafted scaffolds to assist early through transitional readers in their mastery of the Alphabetic Principle. Initially, students make letter-sound connections as educators use the characters, gestures, and colour cues as hints during instruction and/or play. Using scaffolding, educators can add or remove prompts as students gain confidence and ability. This approach helps readers quickly build essential reading skills and confidence, and ensures educators are supporting all learners. As students learn the connections between phonemes and graphemes through repetition, exposure, and practical application, they come to internalize and use the scaffolded hints to support encoding and decoding.
Most reading difficulties can be prevented in young students who are at-risk.[xiv] Bluewater Phonics resources all have the same layout and design. Utilizing the memorable characters, along with the gestures, sounds, and colours, the resources allow educators to teach to the multiple intelligences within their classrooms while cultivating an entry point and instructional pathway for all students.
Multisensory and Universally Designed - Why It Works: Supporting Core Programming and Special Education.
Bluewater Phonics resources embed seamlessly into core literacy programs in kindergarten through fourth-grade classrooms and can be utilized to support tiered interventions for struggling students. The resources have been thoughtfully curated with a multisensory design to support the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in classrooms - a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people.[v] The multisensory delivery allows for entry points for all learner profiles and supports essential gap closing instruction for at-risk students.

Multisensory learning is evidence-based and one of the most effective methods to help students reach academic milestones.[vi] Bluewater Phonics resources utilize auditory, visual, and kinesthetic components to help all students develop strong reading and writing skills.

Bluewater Phonics resources support students with Special Education needs of all ages, particularly students with Learning Disabilities [vii], Mild Intellectual Disabilities, and Down Syndrome.[viii] “The ability to fluently decode words takes practice for any learner, but some learners will reach automaticity more quickly than others.”[ix]
“Educational research proves multisensory instruction improves student outcomes in reading”[x]. Intervention for students who experience reading difficulty must be targeted on the foundational skills required for good word recognition, including phonological awareness, phonics (ie. Alphabetic Principle, letter-sounds) and rapid recognition/decoding of familiar words.[xi]

“Efficient decoding strategies permit readers to quickly and automatically translate the letters or spelling patterns of written words into speech sounds so that they can identify words and gain rapid access to their meanings. Children must learn to identify words quickly and effortlessly, so they can focus on the meaning of what they are reading.[iv] Bluewater Phonics resources support students in the development and mastery of their letter-sound knowledge. This knowledge fosters significant improvements in decoding, fluency and comprehension, enabling students to become independent readers and writers.

“In my mind, I can see the characters when I’m looking at words, and it really helps me.”

- Grade 4 Student

[i] Chard, D., & Osborn, J. (n.d.). Phonics and Word Recognition Instruction in Early Reading Programs: Guidelines for Children with Reading Disabilities.
     Reading Rockets. https://www.readingrockets.org/article/phonics-and-word-recognition-instruction-early-reading-programs-guidelines-children-reading

[ii] Kilpatrick, D. A. (2015). Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties. Wiley.

[iii] Sedita, J. (2020, May 5). The Role of Orthographic Mapping in Learning To Read. The Keys to Literacy. https://keystoliteracy.com/blog/the-role-of-orthographic-mapping-in-learning-to-read/

 [iv] Chard, D., & Osborn, J. (n.d.). Phonics and Word Recognition Instruction in Early Reading Programs: Guidelines for Children with Reading Disabilities.
     Reading Rockets. https://www.readingrockets.org/article/phonics-and-word-recognition-instruction-early-reading-programs-guidelines-children-reading

[v] Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. (2018). CAST. https://udlguidelines.cast.org/

[vi] Why Multisensory Learning is an Effective Strategy for Teaching Students How To Read. (2019, March 5). Waterford.Org. https://www.waterford.org/education/why-multisensory-learning-is-an-effective-strategy-for-teaching-students-how-to-read/

[vii] Voyager Sopris, Seidenberg Reading, & IDA. (2020, April 6). Structured Literacy and the Science of Reading. Hill Learning Centre. https://www.hillcenter.org/structured-literacy-and-the-science-of-reading/

[viii] Hughes, J. (2006) Teaching reading skills to children with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome News and Update, 6(2), 62-65. doi:10.3104/practice.349

[ix] UDL Guidelines: Support decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols. (2018). CAST. https://udlguidelines.cast.org/representation/language-symbols/text-notation-symbols

[xi] Science of Reading. (2021). International Dyslexia Association. https://www.idaontario.com/science-of-reading/

[xii] Moats, L. C. (2020). Speech to Print Workbook: Language Exercises for Teachers (3rd ed.). Paul H. Brookes.

[xiii] Science of Reading. (2021). International Dyslexia Association. https://www.idaontario.com/science-of-reading/

[xiv] Ordetx, K., Dr. (2021, January 14). What is the Science of Reading? The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE). https://journal.imse.com/what-is-the-science-of-reading/
Our Commitment to Evidence-Based Reading Instruction: Aligning Instruction with the Science of Reading Using Structured Literacy

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