Teaching Analogy Phonics

Analogy Phonics, by Marn Frank, from Atlas (ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System), 2015.

I reviewed this useful resource for LINCS and believe it will serve you well in the process of helping adult learners read in English: ABE or ESL. You will find the entire "package" in our Resource Collection at https://lincs.ed.gov/professional-development/resource-collections/profile-853 .

From the Collection:

"This resource is designed to equip ABE/ESL reading teachers with (1) an explanation of why analogy phonics instruction is recommended and (2) a "toolkit" that includes lesson plans, instructions, models, a variety of engaging student handouts for use in the classroom,  and lists of word family relatives for ready access in designing analogy instruction.

"There are three evidence-based or proven approaches for teaching English letter-sound patterns or phonics to children and adults: synthetic (combining different patterns), analytic (separating into patterns), and analogy (comparing similar patterns). Synthetic is most common and used in many published instructional materials. Analytic is less common but can be a valuable practice activity. Analogy dates back to colonial times and teaches reliable and decodable “chunks,” which can be generalized to many other words."

I invite you to review this resource and briefly comment here on one section that appealed to you and why. Together, this discussion will provide excellent tips for helping adult learners practice valuable phonics skills. Leecy


Hi Leecy,

This looks like a really good resource. I especially like the applications to ESL. For those who don't know (I didn't...) teaching phonics by analogy is an approach that is based in word families. So, rather than practicing all short a words, the student practices the -at family, including at, cat, bat, fat, etc. and moving on (if appropriate) to flat, splat, battery, and so on.

The document includes a basic lesson structure and some very good resources. The phonics text that we provide for tutors uses word families, though it may be introducing too many at once. This is a good thing to know when I am talking to tutors who use this text. I might also share some of the activities in Frank's report with them, since it will offer them new ways to review previously taught material (something that many tutors struggle with).

I will be passing the LINCs resource to our teachers, as well.



Rachel, thanks for the good review and reference to your practices. I hope others will drop in and add their views.

You mention ESL instruction. I wonder what you and others in our community consider to be most useful for native (English) speaking vs. ESL learners. Among the three approaches, analytic, synthetic, and analogy, it would seem that the analytic would be the least useful for ESL students since they don't have the initial vocabulary required to take words apart. What do you and others here think? Do you prefer one approach over another in teaching literacy to different types of adult learners? Leecy