Grapho-phonic Cueing System
The grapho-phonic cueing system is one of three surface structure systems that permit readers to read fluently and writers to write fluently. The relationship between written symbols or letters and the sounds of language resides in what is referred to as grapho-phonics. “Grapho” refers to writing and “phonic” refers to sounds. Grapho-phonic cues are hints for readers that enable decoding, with comprehension as the ultimate goal.
When readers are successful using grapho-phonic cues, they can transfer words from letters on a page to the sounds of language and create meaning. Using the conventions of written English, background knowledge, and skilled decoding, readers become automatic when using the grapho-phonic cueing system. This automaticity allows for full attention to comprehending the text. (An important component in early reading instruction includes lots of practice with texts.)
“Children who are successful in using the grapho-phonic system have had explicit phonics instruction or the naming of the relationship between letters and sounds. Playing with words, word building, creating new constructions within word families, and manipulating letters to form a variety of words are important opportunities for children to practice. The most effective phonics practice is to read texts at an appropriate level and to write every day” (Keene, 2008, p. 115).1
In the following video of a first-grade synthetic phonics exercise, students decode words through surface structure letter-sound correspondence as they hear, write, read, and revise words by using previously learned sounds. (Note: The exercise presented in this video was designed specifically for first-grade students and is not intended for use with other grade levels.)
1Keene, E. (2008). To understand: New horizons in reading comprehension. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.