Phonics is the study and use of sound/ letter correspondences and syllable patterns to help students identify written words.

Phonics instruction teaches students the relationship between sounds and letters.

Teaching Phonics:

Phonics is the method of teaching children to link phonemes to the symbol it represents to form a grapheme, a symbol that represents a sound. Learners are able to do this when they have a strong understanding of phonemic awareness.


The process of decoding is when a child is able to see a letter and then say the sound it represents out loud.
Letter-sound correspondence involves thinking about what sound a word starts with, saying the sound out loud, and then recognizing how that sound is represented by a letter.


The process of combining individual sounds together and say the whole word.
This is a big step for many children and takes time and patience.


The process of using letter-sound knowledge to write.

Encoding happens when a child is able to recall the sound and the symbol that is assigned to it.

Developing skills:


Short Vowels:

  • /a/ as in apple
  • /e/ as in elephant
  • /i/ as in igloo
  • /o/ as in octopus
  • /u/ as in umbrella

Long Vowels:

  • /a/ as in acorn
  • /e/ as in equal
  • /i/ as in ice cream
  • /o/ as in open
  • /u/ as in unicorn

CVC Words:

Three-letter words arranged consonant, vowel, consonant.

CCVC and CVCC Words:

Consonant Clusters are words with two consonants located together in a word.
Example: CCVC (consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant) stop and plan
Example: CVCC (consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant) milk and fast

Vowel Digraphs:

A digraph is two vowels that when they are together, make one sound.
Examples: /oa/as in boat, /ee/ as in sheep, /ai/ as in rain

A split digraph (magic e) is when a digraph is split by a consonant.
Examples: take – the ‘ae’ here make one sound. The ‘ae’ digraph is split by the ‘k’

Consonant Digraphs:

A consonant digraph is two consonants that when together make one sound.
Example: /ch/ as in chat, chain; and /sh/ as in shop, shout

Consonant Blends:

A consonant blend is two or more consonants are blended together, but each sound may be heard in the blend.
Example: /bl/ as in blend, /str/ as in string, /gr/ as in grape


A trigraph is a group of three letters that makes a single sound.
Example: /igh/ as in “sigh”

Practice at Home:

We Are Teachers has a wonderful resource that is designed to build phonic skills. The activities are engaging, meaningful, and fun.