Investigating Phonics in Children s Literature An Enriching Medium for Early Language Literacy

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Ünal Gezer M.

14th METU INTERNATIONAL ELT CONVENTION, Ankara, Turkey, 17 - 19 June 2022

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Across English-as-a-second and English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) contexts, literature supports the functionality of phonics instruction on reading and other early literacy skills (Ehri et al, 2001). Turkey is an EFL context where English is offered at primary level by Turkey’s Ministry of National Education without phonological or phonemic awareness raising activities and materials at public schools. Phonics is more commonly, yet unsystematically, integrated in private schools’ curricula and instructional design. In Turkey, English is offered as a subject without training in noticing the sounds of English language and distinguishing the sound-letter (phoneme-grapheme) relationships. Reading has mostly been practiced for comprehension purposes. The present study systematically reviews sampled reading and educational materials (N:192) for sound awareness in English to establish a phonics program for early English. In these publications, the emphases, and instructional activities/tasks tapping into English language phonological, phonemic, and morphological awareness for English language learners in Turkey were coded and analyzed to answer the following:

- In what ways is phonological awareness tapped into and practiced in the sampled English authentic children’s storybooks as well as phonics-based publications?

The findings revealed authentic English picture books were the richest source implicitly tapping into English sound awareness, specifically rhyme awareness, following instructional phonics materials which follow an explicit and scaffolding approach to increase English sound awareness. The study findings inform in-practice English teachers about the functions of storybooks for increasing English sound awareness of young learners and EFL program designers for a story-integrated and contextualized English sound awareness EFL program for primary levels.


Ehri, L. C., Nunes, S. R., Stahl, S. A., & Willows, D. M. (2001). Systematic phonics instruction helps students learn to read: evidence from the national reading panel’s meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71(3), 393-447. DOI: 10.3102/00346543071003393