Why phonics work

10 Reasons Why Phonics Works

Reading is an essential skill that most children learn in early childhood. English has just 26 letters but many more sounds (these are called phonics), and in order to read, children must learn to decode those letters and sounds into the correct words. Mastering reading will help children develop a lifelong love of books and learning. 

What are Phonics?

Phonics are a popular teaching method for reading that focuses on identifying and pronouncing sounds rather than letters. Children are taught to recognise the sounds of the letters as well as the letter combinations. Putting the sounds together will help them learn to decode words that they read.

The Benefits of Phonics

Phonics was first popularised in the mid-19th century. Today, there’s a heavy emphasis on phonics and for good reason: they work! Here are 8 simple reasons parents and teachers keep returning to phonics to give their students a strong foundation in reading. 

  1. Phonics aids children in recognising words.

Children need to recognise words both in context and isolation, and phonics helps them do that easily and confidently. 

  1. Maximise exposure to reading.

Exposure to the written word, whether through reading or being read to, gives children more opportunities to learn to read through word recognition.

  1. They offer independent reading opportunities.

Beginner readers will typically need a lot of help as they are sounding out words, but they also need opportunities to read independently. With phonics, they can while still focus on specific reading skills.

  1. Phonics improve spelling skills.

By breaking words down into their individual parts and sounds, children learn to spell based on the sound, making it easier to remember the spelling. 

  1. Helping children learn to read for meaning.

Children start recognising patterns through phonics, which allows them to focus instead on the meaning of the story, ultimately improving their reading comprehension skills. 

  1. Builds children’s self-esteem.

Learning to read can be tough for any child. With phonics, children can take smaller steps that feel right for them. They’re learning and growing through their own efforts, which can be a powerful self-esteem booster.

  1. Boost reading confidence.

Reading can feel like a big hurdle to young children. Breaking it down into smaller bites can make it easier. When children read their first book, that is a big success and builds their confidence for their next book. 

  1. Phonics are adaptable.

Every child is different when it comes to learning to read. Some children catch on quickly while others need a lot more practice. Phonics adapt to your child’s needs.

The great thing about reading is that children don’t have to just read books. The wider variety of materials they are exposed to the better. Why not try magazines, comics, poetry/nursery rhymes, encyclopaedias, atlases, even the dictionary! With reading comes comprehension, check out how to improve comprehension with our 7 strategies. 

Here are some great online, free resources for primary school students to learn to love reading:

1. Storyline Online

2. Storynory

3. Read to Me

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