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about phonics

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What is Phonics?

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Phonics IS RELATING relationships between letters and sounds in a language.


When your kindergartner learns that the letter D has the sound of /d/ and your second-grader learns that "tion" sounds like /shun/, they are learning phonics.

All About Phonics

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What is Phonics
and Phonics Garden?

Why is phonics important?

To become skilled, fluent readers, need to have a repertoire of strategies to draw on using context clues, picture cues and PHONICS!


These strategies include using a knowledge of sound-spelling relationships in other words, an understanding of phonics. In addition, research has shown that skilled readers attend to almost every word in a sentence and process the letters that compose each of these words.


Phonics instruction plays a key role in helping students comprehend text. It helps the student map sounds onto spellings, enables decoding of words, higher development of word recognition, and an increase in reading fluency. Reading fluency improves reading comprehension because as students are no longer struggling with decoding words, they can concentrate on making meaning from the text. In addition, phonics instruction improves spelling ability because it emphasizes spelling patterns that become familiar from reading. Studies show that half of all English words can be spelled with phonics rules that relate to one letter to one sound. Learning phonics will help your children learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help your child decode words as he reads. Knowing phonics will also help your child know which letters to use as he writes words.

When is phonics usually taught?

Children should have focused phonics instruction in kindergarten through second grade. In kindergarten, children should learn the sounds of the consonant and vowel letters including consonant letter blends, consonant and vowel digraphs, diphthongs and three letter blends. By second grade students should be reviewing and practicing the phonics skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic.


Phonics instruction is only one part of a complete reading program for beginning readers. With this in mind, the Phonics Garden program also emphasizes reading fluency, vocabulary development, and text comprehension.

How is phonics different from phonemic awareness?

Phonics involves the relationship between sounds and written symbols, whereas phonemic awareness involves sounds in spoken words. Therefore, phonics instruction focuses on teaching sound-spelling relationships and is associated with print. Most phonemic awareness tasks are oral with auditory recognition.

Despite these different focuses, phonics instruction and phonemic awareness instruction are connected. In fact, phonemic awareness is necessary for phonics instruction to be effective. Before students can use a knowledge of sound-spelling relationships to decode written words, they must understand that words (whether written or spoken) are made up of sounds. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that a word is made up of a series of sounds. Without this insight, phonics instruction will not make sense to students.

How can Phonics Garden help my child?