Child Care Near Me

Child Care Near Me – What are ‘Phonics’?

2 April 2024
Posted by: Chelsea

Most parents spend considerable time looking for appropriate childcare centres.

If you’re currently searching for ‘child care near me’, you may wish to find out more about what are called phonics programs.

Child care near me – understanding phonics

Phonics is another way of saying ‘sounds’ and by extension into teaching methodologies, relating certain sounds to written shapes such as letters and groups of letters. In some academic literature, you might see these two things referred to as “phonemes” for sounds and “graphemes” for letter or letter combination shapes.

Phonics (confusingly, also sometimes called “phonetics”) in education means helping children to learn to read by teaching them letter and letter-combination sounds. Then learning parts of a word helps to recognise it by sound combination.

If this sounds complex, don’t worry, it isn’t!

  • Many parents over the centuries have helped children learn to read by starting with the sounds of letters. In its simplest form, this is recognised by, for example, calling the letter ‘D’ by its sound, “der” or “deh” rather than “dee” as pronounced alphabetically. This can help reading because many simple words start with a sound closer to “deh/der” than “dee”. An example might be the word “dirt” which alphabetically would be pronounced “dee-eye-ar-tee”.
  • This also helps children to understand how letters sometimes modify each other’s sounds if they’re directly alongside.
  • This is an over-simplified example but it indicates the principles of phonic programs.

The history

Surprisingly, the core concepts of teaching to read via a phonics approach go back to the late 16th century.
They differ from earlier approaches and some others practised today, which are heavily based on alphabetic methods. This essentially focuses on letters and recognising them in strings that make words.


  • In some languages, letters have ‘accents’ that are a pronunciation guide. Using French as an example, a ‘C’ can be either ‘c’ or ‘ç’ indicating a hard pronunciation or a soft one.
  • In English, no such help exists and this has to be learned by sound examples. An illustration might be the word “circle” where the sound of ‘C’ is soft as in ‘sir’ or the word ‘cat’ where the ‘c’ sound is hard as in ‘k’.
  • In addition, English has evolved from old German, Norse and Anglo-Saxon, with a lot of mediaeval French added in. This leads to plenty of spelling and pronunciation irregularities, with words ending in ‘ight’ being one example and even more confusingly, words spelt very differently but pronounced identically, as in “through” and “threw”.
  • Fortunately, most of these complexities won’t be a factor until later in a child’s education, by which time they should already have a good grasp of basic early-level reading skills.

Do phonics programs help children to learn to read faster?

The consensus is ‘yes’ although there are some variants of phonics and different experts make cases for each of them. It’s important though to make clear that at younger ages, children aren’t drilled in the alphabet and basic reading as was the case in times past. These programs are delivered in a fun and playful environment, which both experience and studies have shown to be the most effective way to help children learn to read.

Find out more

We’re proud to be practitioners of the Jolly Phonics program and we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss it further with you. Why not call us and make an appointment to come and see it in action for yourself?

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