Learning Sounds: What is Phonics?

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Phonics has become a popular word in teaching vocabulary, but it has left many parents asking what is phonics exactly? Phonics focuses on sounds and makes children’s literacy journey slightly easier by engaging in the alphabet from an exploration of how those letters sound. Teachers and educators are finding that through the teaching of phonics, children are finding it easier to understand the alphabet and eventually vocalising their words. Learning to identify sounds and say words is a huge step in the phonics journey, and is the eventual outcome of a course in phonics. Asking what is phonics is a genuine question and there are plenty of resources and guides that can assist with the development of your child’s language.

What is Phonics?: Blending Sounds to Read

What is phonics is a genuine question that has stumped many parents? Phonics is the preferred method of many educators to teach children how to read words by carefully listening and identifying the phonemes in letters and, thus, pronouncing words correctly. This is now taught alongside the learning of the English alphabet. There is a particular process of teaching phonics to kids which will answer the eternal question of what is phonics? The first step to teaching phonics to let your children explore is known as decoding. This is related to separating the letters and mixing them in different orders to allow your children to attempt to read them differently according to where they are placed. Strong letters that provide a variety of phonics sounds could be S, A, T, P, N, and I. These letters can combine to make a variety of words that make fantastic sounds for your children to practice. Things like ‘sat, ‘pat’, or even ‘sit’ and ‘pin’. These letters coming together are known as blending.

The term blending is an important part of understanding the question: what is phonics? This process of identifying indifferent sounds and being able to eventually blend these sounds together to create and read words. This can be a difficult process for many children, so taking time and care to learn with them, and going as fast as their level allows is important for your child to advance. Practising with them will give them the courage and the confidence to be able to blend and read their words alone. Another fantastic benefit to being able to learn phonics is that these blending of sounds helps them say and read letters or words, but it also aids in being able to write the letters down on paper or whiteboard, and they will be able to form them without help from a parent or educator.

Decoding Phonics Sounds: CVC Words

A genuine and understandable question is simply what is phonics? Knowing that there are three important steps enables you to help with your child’s learning process and help answer the question: what is phonics? Introducing your children to what phonics is, moving them towards decoding of words, and eventually bringing them to an understanding of what blending those letters does in regards to forming words is the first step to helping them with literacy. The decoding phase brings multiple steps for the parents to practice with their children to ensure that they are pronouncing their letters correctly and reading words that the letters represent. Decoding can be related to specific letters which could form different words which help children differentiate between letters in different word structures and their pronunciations. This is vital to their educational journey with decoding phonic sounds as this will allow them to indulge with CVC words.

CVC words are the second part of decoding phonics. They give your child the opportunity to decode their words and read them carefully. CVC stands for consonant, vowel, consonant, so gives a child an opportunity to read words that solely consist of these things. Teaching your children what vowels are, a,e, I, o, u, is a great way of introducing them to these concepts while ensuring that they understand that consonant sounds are the rest of the letters in the English alphabet. Teaching children vowels and how to read them correctly is arguably the most difficult part of the English language. There are plenty of resources and exercises to aid with this though, and teaching them this now will aid them in managing to read and speak correctly in the future. Consonants are much easier to learn than vowels, so make sure you help them pronounce their vowels first and then literacy will come with ease.



Decoding: What is Phonics?

Answering what is decoding and what is phonics are some of the first questions asked when parents are attempting to teach their children literacy. Phonics helps children learn the English language and decoding is an important step in learning letters and phonics. Decoding is essentially the process that allows the conversion of a message or code in a language that one can understand. However, when it comes to decoding letters or words, then it means applying the knowledge of letter-sound relationships as well as letter patterns to ensure that your child has mastered the correct pronunciation of written words. Decoding becomes beneficial to children as it gives them space and the ability to recognise words quickly while learning how to spell other words. It develops and deepens their vocabulary to words that they are reading for the first time.

Before children embark on coding, understanding what is phonics and how it impacts their literacy is important. They should have a basic understanding of this before they learn the letters and how they are supposed to be pronounced when letters come to form words. This can be done at the learning process of the English alphabet learning. There are so many ways to introduce phonics into the learning process, and there is a wealth of educational content online to aid with parental or guardian instruction. Educational apps and resources can help parents and guardians deliver succinct and concise activities for their children to avail of and aid with their learning of phonics and gaining literacy skills.

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