Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Keri DeSutter


phonics, curriculum, early learning



Debate surrounding the use of phonics instruction within the classroom to improve reading in young children continues across the country. Some may say that the reading curriculum used covers the core parts of phonics allowing children to learn essential skills within their reading lessons. Others may argue that though this may be true, children need additional work with phonics to further develop their reading skills. The state of Minnesota has introduced the READ Act which indicates the need for research-based reading curriculums providing instruction that is rich in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading fluency, and reading comprehension (MDE). Research has shown there is no single best way to teach phonics, but that phonics is an important aspect of early reading development. Some may prefer to teach it blended into their reading curriculum while others find explicit instruction to be more beneficial. This paper focuses on the use of explicit instruction through phonics curriculum to teach phonemic awareness and phonics skills in early literacy to ensure that children are reaching the goals indicated in the Minnesota READ Act. With the increased need for phonics instruction in the classroom it is essential to pick the best curriculum that follows research-based standards. Similar to how research has shown there isn’t one specific way to teach phonics instruction, it has also demonstrated that there is no single best curriculum. All curricula have positives and negatives and it’s up to the district to decide what best fits their students and school budget. Based on research, I have created a list of pros and cons for five phonics curricula that I felt best fit the requirements for the Minnesota READ Act and follow the guidelines of The Science of Reading. The information can be used to best determine which phonics curriculum is the right fit for the district.



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