Ohio's Rule for Phonics: OAC 3301-33-01

As authorized under Ohio law, the State Board of Education has prescribed minimum standards requiring the use of phonics as a technique in the teaching of reading in grades kindergarten through three.

Phonics shall be used as a technique in the teaching of reading in grades kindergarten through three. Phonics is recommended to be used as a technique in the teaching of in grades four and five for students in need of continued systematic phonics instruction.

Phonics instruction is necessary for fluent reading and directly supports the comprehension of text but is not sufficient on its own to develop proficient or advanced readers. Instruction is also needed to advance student knowledge of vocabulary, background knowledge, language structures, verbal reasoning and literacy knowledge.

Systematic Phonics Instruction

Systematic phonics instruction is informed by screening and intervention-based diagnostic measures and differentiated to meet student needs. Systematic phonics instruction includes the following components:

(1) Phonemic awareness connection and review;

(2) A logical scope and sequence from simpler to more complex skills with the inclusion of six syllable types;

(3) Blending practice using multiple blending routines with teacher modeling, student guided practice, and independent practice of blending words using the pattern(s) in the instructional sequence;

(4) Dictation of words, phrases, and sentences using the phonics pattern(s);

(5) Use of connected text (such as decodable texts) to practice fluency and build automaticity;

(6) Teaching high frequency words using phoneme grapheme mapping, whether spelled regularly or irregularly;

(7) Connection to the meaning of the words decoded, with explicit instruction in the meanings of unknown words when necessary;

(8) Extended opportunities for practice;

(9) Advanced phonics, as applicable to a students decoding development.

For some students who are deaf or hard of hearing, traditional phonics instruction and strategies may be less effective. Educators may use other evidence-based practices to support the reading development of deaf or hard of hearing students to meet their individualized needs, consistent with the students individualized education program.


 "Advanced phonics" means the knowledge and strategies used to decode multisyllabic words, including syllabication, morphology and information about the meaning, pronunciation and parts of speech of words gained from knowledge of prefixes, roots and suffixes.

"Decodable text" means texts with highly controlled vocabulary that are carefully sequenced to include letter sound relationships and high frequency words that have previously been taught.

"Differentiated" means designing and delivering instruction to meet individual needs.

"Explicit instruction" means a teacher directed and systematic instructional approach that includes specific components of delivery and design of instruction such as review of previous content, step by step demonstrations, clear language, adequate range of examples, frequent student responses, monitoring of student progress, feedback to students and multiple opportunities for practice, both guided and independent. This practice includes distributed and cumulative practice. This practice does not make assumptions that learners will acquire skills and knowledge on their own.

 "Intervention-based diagnostic measures" means assessment used to identify where a student is on an instructional continuum and specifies next steps in instruction. These assessments may be placement tests within an instructional program or may be informal measures not associated with a specific instructional program.

"Phoneme grapheme mapping" means evidence-based practice and instructional activity that helps the reader build word recognition skills by connecting the sounds (phonemes) to the letters (graphemes) in printed words.

"Systematic Phonics" means directly teaching children that letters represent the sounds of spoken language and that there is an organized, logical, and predictable relationship between written letters and spoken sounds. When children are explicitly taught the relationship between sounds (phonemes) and the letters (graphemes) that represent those sounds, they can apply these principles to both familiar and unfamiliar words.

"Phonics" is a way of teaching reading that stresses the acquisition of letter-sound correspondences and their use in reading and spelling.

Ohio's recently revised Rule for Phonics can be found in OAC 3301-33-01. 

More information and resources are forthcoming. Please check this webpage regularly for updates.

Last Modified: 4/12/2024 7:17:15 AM