What is phonics?
Phonics is knowing that sounds and letters have a relationship. In other words, it is the link between what we say and what we can read and write. Phonics offers beginning readers the tools they need to sound out words. For example, kids learn that the letter D has the sound of /d/ as in doll. Down the road, they'll learn how to combine letter sounds to make words like dog.
Why is phonics important?
As children advance as readers, they must be able to eventually blend letter sounds, without stumbling over words. Phonics helps set a foundation for that process.
In preschool and the beginning of kindergarten, the beginner reading curriculum is usually focused on phonological awareness and learning to recognize letters (upper and lowercase) and learning the sound of each letter. This focus on sound and letter awareness sets children up for success in learning phonics skills. Usually, around halfway through kindergarten, children move on to blending simple words and begin to work toward building automaticity.
How does your child's school teach phonics?
Research suggests that the most effective phonics instruction is systematic, sequential, and explicit. Teachers give preschoolers plenty of practice before moving on. Your child will read short, easy books containing the particular letter sounds or words they're working on. You can help them practice by providing similar books at home, such as those in the Peppa Pig Phonics Book Set.
Here are more ways you can reinforce phonics learning at home:
Find more expert-approved books, tips, and resources to help strengthen your preschooler's skills in our guide to getting ready for kindergarten.
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