Two important truths motivated the thought leaders at Nest School. First, according to “What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able to Do” by Louisa C. Moats, the most fundamental responsibility of schools is teaching children to read. Second, it was the front-page news that 95% of students who follow science can learn to read.    

Students learn to read at school if they are taught the right way. The right way means kids must be taught how to connect sounds with letters—phonics. Reading is a critical foundation for developing logic and problem-solving skills. The historical approach called the “whole word” and “look-say” method to teach reading is being questioned because the first step is an explicit, step-by-step systematic instruction in phonics, one of the building blocks of reading. The Nest School “thought leaders” needed to get to work. Determined to make an impact in this fundamentally important arena of reading instruction, our team began creating and rigorously testing a multi-sensory phonics system using speech-sound and the orthographic method. We were determined to give educators every tool needed for explicit phonics instruction-based curriculum and classroom manipulatives.    

Nest Phonics was born from a nationwide awakening in how children learn to read and what kind of instruction works best, as per “Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It” by M. Seidenberg. An experienced and innovative team of educators studied phonics instruction solutions. Stepping into the gap in the marketplace, their approach replaced strategies that did not work and produced curriculum that brought the best possible results.    

In the Nest Phonics approach, our students receive detailed instruction on the building blocks of reading with charming, playful characters who come to life as they represent and teach sounds and letters. To foster an exciting and lasting education experience for young learners, Nest Phonics captures the imagination of young minds with songs, motions, and even fun little props. Our teachers use photos showing precise mouth positions for letter sounds to ease speech production and enhance literacy skills.    

The steps to reading include:   

  • Phonemic Awareness, the ability to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that make up spoken words  
  • Phonics, the process of systematically mapping speech sounds onto letters and letter combinations  
  • Vocabulary, the words readers must know to understand what they read  
  • Fluency, the ability to read accurately, rapidly, and with expression to understand what they read, and  
  • Comprehension, the ability to understand the meaning of a text  

Explicit phonics instruction is crucial to growing readers. Reading is the foundation for spiritual formation and discipleship. It creates lifelong learners. From a spiritual perspective, raising successful learners ensures that our children are not just a part of the church today but grow up to be accountable in ministry for the church of tomorrow. 

Explicit phonics instruction is the first step for early childhood educators to achieve reading instruction best practices. 



About the Author:  

Suzanne Anderson, founder and Executive Director of Nest School and Nest Knowledge, brings a strong business background and years of early childhood innovation and experience to the table.  Her most important qualification, however, is her spiritual training and focus on child evangelism.  Her life’s goal is to impact children and families to grow the way God commanded.  An author and early childhood education thought leader, under Suzanne’s leadership Nest School offers an academically strong, biblically integrated curriculum that makes them highly sought after in their community. Suzanne’s goal is to be an early childhood education game-changer revolutionizing the way young students learn to read.   

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