Why Is Phonics Important for Reading?

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Phonics is important for reading in that it teaches children to understand language as a code with sounds and letter combinations. Find out how phonics can also teach children to know which letters to use as written words with help from an English specialist and president of a theater group in this free video on reading and phonics.

Part of the Video Series: Reading Comprehension Strategies
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Video Transcript

Codes abound in all of our written languages. Why is phonics important to reading? It helps us to decode things. I'm John Conlon, with a few decoding clues. Phonics is simply a system of relationships between letters and sounds in language. When your kindergarten learns that the letter B sounds like B, and your second grader learns that t-i-o-n sounds like shun they're learning phonics. Why is it important? It will help your child to learn to spell and to read. Written language can be compared to a code, and so knowing the sounds that the letters make and letter combinations make will help your child decode words as he or she reads. Knowing phonics will also help your child know which letters to use as written words. When is phonics usually taught? Kindergarten is the beginning, although it could happen at home well before then. In kindergarten, children usually learn the sounds of consonants; all of the letters except the vowels a, e, i, o, u. First and second graders typically learn the sounds of letters, letter combination, and word parts such as ing, or ed. They practice reading and spelling words containing these patterns. Second graders typically review the practice, and they practice the phonic skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic. Children vary in the amount of phonics instruction they need and when they need it. Some children need very little phonics instruction while others could benefit from it well beyond the third grade. There are studies that show that children with a dyslexia benefit from phonics instruction even beyond the third grade. I'm John Conlon, and these are some of the reason why phonics is important to reading.

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