Why Phonics is a Good Way to Learn to Read

Phonics is a branch of reading instruction that helps children who are learning to read decipher words by focusing on the sounds that a letter or combination of letters makes. It is a proven way to help young children become more fluent readers but it is not to be confused with reading comprehension. Phonics, rather, is geared solely towards recognizing and pronouncing the words in an accurate and efficient manner.

Types of Phonics Instruction

The first type of phonics instruction is called systematic phonics. This focuses on showing children the sounds that letter make then having them combine those sounds to form words. Generally, it is taught along with spelling. For example, children might be asked to blend sounds to create a word such as b-oo-k or t-oo-k. The focus here is on segments of sound.

The other type of phonics instruction is called analytical phonics. This is when children are asked to focus on a sound within a word. Using the same example above, children might be shown the words book and took then asked which sound they shared in common. So, instead of blending sounds together, children analyze sounds within words that they are shown.

Benefits of Phonics Instruction

Decipher Words: Phonics is a beneficial form of instruction mainly because it helps children decipher words, which in turn makes them better independent readers. Understanding how the sounds blend together helps children to sound out words without assistance.

Learn New Words: Learning phonics also helps children to learn new words that they have never before encountered. It is easier for them to read a new word when they are able to break down the usual sounds of a word from previous knowledge.

Spell Correctly: Another benefit of phonics instruction is that it helps children learn to spell words correctly. While the focus is generally on the sound of the word, it exposes children to the look of a word as well. This makes spelling come more naturally.

Phonics is an important component of learning for all children but it may work better for some than others. Either way, understanding the way a word sounds or the combination of letters within word segments is a vital step on the way to becoming an active and enthusiastic reader.

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