Phonics is the correspondence between letters and spoken sounds, or letter–sound correspondences. Today virtually all approaches to early reading instruction in the United States include instruction in phonics. The various approaches differ in the units of sound taught and how they are taught. Some teach letter–phoneme correspondences and others teach letter–onset and letter–rime correspondences. Some teach phonics out of context and others teach it in context. However, all approaches share the same goal: to help beginning readers become independent readers.

Spoken Sounds

In English, the sounds employed in phonics instruction can be phonemes or they can be onsets and rimes.


Traditionally, the unit of sound used in phonics instruction has been the phoneme. The phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that makes a difference in the meaning ...

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