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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?

Our Approaches to phonics instruction and development:


Materials utilize several approaches to phonics instruction, including those listed below. The distinctions between approaches are not absolute, and some programs of instruction combine approaches.

  • Synthetic phonics:

Children learn how to convert letters or letter combinations into sounds, and then how to blend the sounds together to form recognizable words.

  • Analytic phonics:

Children learn to analyze letter-sound relationships in previously learned words. They do not pronounce sounds in isolation. Children learn to analyze letter-sound relationships in previously learned words. They do not pronounce sounds in isolation.


  • Analogy-based phonics:

Children learn to use parts of word families and rhyme they know to identify words they don't know that have similar parts.

  • Phonics through spelling:

Children learn to segment words into phonemes and to make words by writing letters for phonemes.

  • Embedded phonics:

Children are taught letter-sound relationships during the reading of connected text. (Since children encounter different letter-sound relationships as they read, this approach is not systematic or explicit.)

  • Onset-rhyme phonics:

Children learn to identify the sound of the letter or letters before the first vowel (the onset) in a one-syllable word and the sound of the remaining part of the word (the rhyme).

  • Phonics Garden Effectively offers instruction:

Explicitly and systematically instructs students in how to relate letters and sounds, how to break spoken words into sounds, and how to blend sounds to form words; helps students understand why they are learning the relationships between letters and sounds; helps students apply their knowledge of phonics as they read words, sentences, and text; helps students apply what they learn about sounds and letters to their own writing;  can be adapted to the needs of individual students, based on assessment; includes alphabetic knowledge, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, and the reading of text, as well as systematic phonics instruction.

The Benefits to Phonics are Undeniable!

Phonics is an essential building block to literacy providing students with the capabilities that are not available through other means of instruction. It is the only reading method that all of the following:

✔ facilitates comprehension by making use of a students existing verbal vocabulary.

✔ aids in vocabulary development by linking a students verbal and written vocabularies.

✔ automatically grows the student's written sight vocabulary without the use of exercise drills.

✔ frees students from a reliance on adults or knowledgeable peers.

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Phonics Garden:

Promotes Student Confidence 

Builds Critical Skills Towards Fluency

Strengthens Reading Automaticity

Develops Fine Motor skills

Expands Reading Comprehension

Enhances Phonemic Awareness

Fosters Academic Success

Explore Our Worksheets:

Find everything you need for early years Phonics and reading resources!

Search our resources by Phonics Garden book numbers to find worksheets that specifically match your child's Phonics Garden eReader level.

Forming a student centered learning environment in Literacy has never been less complicated, than with the Phonics Garden reading system. To date, more than 180 different research studies conclude that teaching phonics is the best way for children to learn how to read. Phonics instruction improves children's word recognition, spelling, and reading comprehension skills. In addition, phonics instruction that is direct and follows a particular sequence, is more effective than phonics instruction that is not systematic or no phonics instruction at all.

In today's education climate, success is ensuring achievement for every student. To reach this goal, parents and educators need tools to help their children reach success. Phonics Garden enables student progress monitoring through systematic and explicit instruction to help teachers easily understand student performance. Throughout the program students step through learning objects from level to level, book to book, allowing for easy and simple learner evaluations which help instructors determine learning patterns. The teacher uses this information to help them make more informed instructional decisions based on each student's academic needs.