Phonics is Important! 

What is phonics anyways?

Phonics is merely the sounds that letters or combinations of letters make. For instance - when I say the word church or touch, I want the child to understand that the ch makes that sound that we hear at the beginning and the end of church and at the end of touch. Alone, a c and an h make a very different sound. However, together they make the 'ch' sound. Or to give a simpler example, phonics is the sound from a 'b' in the word bed, ball, bank, or the ending sound of tub and club. Phonics is the sound that letters can make. However, it can be dangerous to let students know that certain letters sound like ___ when in fact, those letters can make a variety of sounds. We want our students to know the various sounds letters make. 

Research has proven that phonics is an essential teaching strategy for 5-7 years olds. Phonics needs to be taught beginning with the basic sounds and progressing to the more difficult sounds to be completely effective. This is the reason we begin with the basic word families first such as bat, hat, mat.....let, met, hop, pop. Use basic pictures and flash cards to help students understand the sounds that letters make. (See these free flash cards as well which don't have the letters with the pictures.)

Over the years we've heard that phonics isn't necessary or we've heard that whole language is the way to teach. The pendulum tends to go back and forth over the decades. However, don't you notice that the pendulum always hangs on to the strategies that work? Phonics is one of those strategies.

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