Phonics is mapping sounds of spoken language to written language (e.g., letters). In some languages, the sounds of a spoken language may not directly map onto the written letters of the language. For example, English contains 40 spoken phonemes that are represented by only 26 letters, which can be represented by 250 different spellings (e.g., the/k/sound can be represented by c, k, ck, or ch spellings). In languages such as English, some words may not follow rules of phonics and are often taught directly (e.g., “sight words” such as “who,” “why,” “the”) (Joseph 2005). Phonics instruction has been defined as “explicit teaching about individual letter-sound correspondences, their sequences, and the pronunciation of corresponding sounds” (pg. 423, Connelly et al. 2001). Several studies have indicated that systematic phonics instruction facilitates learning to read (NICHD 2000).
References and Readings
- Joseph, L. M. (2005). Understanding and implementing neuropsychologically based literacy interventions. In R. C. D’Amato, J. Fletcher, & C. R. Reynolds (Eds.), Handbook of school neuropsychology (pp. 738–757). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH publication no. 00–4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
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