Phonics instruction teaches students the relationship between the letters (graphemes) of written language and the individual sounds (phonemes) of spoken language. It also shows students how to use these relationships to read and write words.

Knowing these relationships will help students recognize familiar words accurately and automatically and decode new words.

The Goal of Phonics Instruction

Learning to read is a complex process. It involves the integration of many cognitive, motor, and perceptual abilities. A critical part of the learning process is phonics instruction.

The primary focus of phonics instruction is to help beginning readers understand how letters are linked to sound and spelling patterns. Research shows that students in the early grades who have experience with letters and sounds are more likely to become successful readers.

Teaching Phonics Through Mini-Lessons

In a comprehensive literacy classroom, the daily schedule contains a phonics component of 20–30 minutes in length. These mini-lessons include hands-on activities with manipulatives. The mini-lessons are designed to help students explore letters, sounds, and words.

In addition, these phonetic tasks are customized to meet the learning needs of a group of students. They learn to categorize, compare, and analyze graphophonic information. These tasks are designed to reinforce and extend students’ learning and promote automatic and fluent control of letters and words.

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