Phonics is the study of the predictable relationship between the phonemes or sounds in our language and the graphemes or letters that we use to represent these sounds. The purpose of phonics instruction is to teach children the sound-symbol relationships and how to use those relationships to read words. To achieve this, phonics instruction must be explicit and systematic. It is explicit in that sound-symbol relationships are directly taught. Students are told, for example, that the letter, “s,” stands for the / s / sound; however, when the letter, “s,” sits between two vowels or follows a voiced sound, the letter, “s,” says / z /. It is systematic in that it follows a scope and sequence that allows children to form and read words early on. The skills taught are constantly reviewed and applied to real reading.
(Excerpted from, “School Success for Kids with Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties” by Walter Dunson, Ph.D.)
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