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Definition: Phonics instruction teaches children about the relationship between sounds and letters, and how to use these to read and write words. 

  • These may be single letter-single sound correspondences (b says /b/).
  • Or they may be multiple letter-single sound correspondences (sh says /sh/ or oa says /o/ or igh says /i/).
  • Or they may be multiple letter-multiple sound correspondences (pr says /pr/ or ank says /ank/).

Why it’s important

  • Phonics instruction leads to an understanding of the alphabetic principle — the systematic, predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.

What might I observe in students who need support?

  • Many words are misread while reading.
  • The students hesitate or often get “stuck” when reading words.
  • They may have poor spelling.

Learn more

Try out some of the phonics skill-building activities in the Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Activities tool. 


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