What is a phonic approach to reading?

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An alphabetic, phonic approach to teaching reading has been used for centuries. In the 19th century, this kind of approach began to be called "phonics". Since then it has been further developed and modified. Today a phonics approach is used in varying degrees in most reading methods.


A phonic approach to reading is an approach that teaches the relation of the letters (graphemes) to the sounds (phonemes) they represent to teach reading. (Halvorson 1992)


The theory behind the phonic approach is based on two assumptions:

  • Most languages have consistent phoneme (sound) to grapheme (letter) correlation
  • Once learners have learned the relationships of the letters to the sounds, they can pronounce printed words by blending the sounds together. (Aukerman 1984)

Here are some examples of phonic approaches:

See also

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Page content last modified: 26 August 1999

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