Phonics--Are They Important?
Anyone who has been to school has learned phonics. Phonics is the basic reading instruction that teaches children the relationships between letters and sounds. Phonics teaches children to use these relationships to speak and write words. According to a study by the Partnership for Reading, the objective of phonics instruction is to help children learn and use the "alphabetic principle"-the systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds. Knowing these relationships through phonics helps young readers to recognize familiar words accurately and easily "decode" new words.
The Progressing Stages of Phonics
The Public Broadcasting Company has produced informative literature on learning phonics. They state, "As children are exposed to written language, they discover that marks on a page stand for letters and words. You may have heard children singing the alphabet song like this: ellamenopee. With increased and consistent interaction with print, language, and books, children eventually realize that the string of letters is really l, m, n, o, p and sing the alphabet song with greater confidence and ease. To read well, children need to understand that written English consists of letters and groups of letters that stand for a series of sounds."
What This Means About Phonics
The PBS article continues, by saying, "Phonics helps children understand the relationships between letters and individual sounds. Children need to understand that the letter m stands for the /m/ sound, for example. Knowing these relationships helps children more accurately read familiar words, analyze new words, and write words. When children understand that bake is spelled with an "e" rather than bak, they are better able to read, spell, and write words like cake, lake, make, take, wake, and snake."
What To Look For
They list the following behaviors that indicate children's growing mastery of phonics.
How You Can Help Your Child Learn Phonics
The PBS article suggests a few activities to help your child develop phonics skills. They preface theses activities with this statement: "Children implicitly as they hear good books being read and write stories using invented spellings. They also learn through clear and explicit modeling. A balanced approach allows for both types of learning."
Learn Phonics with-Letter-Sound Cards
I Spy-A Fun Phonics Game
Learn About Phonics by "Sorting"
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