What Is Phonics?

a group of young students learning phonics from a teacher

If you’re the parent or caregiver of a young child just learning to read, then you may have heard their teachers talk about “phonics.” But what, exactly, is phonics? And how can it help your child to read and write?


Phonics, at its core, is the relationship between letters and sounds. You’re using phonics right now as you’re reading this blog post. For example, if we see a word spelled b-i-g, then our knowledge of phonics would identify the sounds /b/ /i/ /g/ to read the word “big.” A young child may already know the word “big” before they start to read and write. By learning phonics, they will be able to point out how the word “big” is spelled and how the letters relate to the different sounds they make when speaking the word “big.”

How is phonics taught?  

Your child’s teacher will likely use a variety of techniques when teaching your child phonics. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Synthetic phonics: This is the most widely used approach that teaches students to convert letters (graphemes) into sounds (phonemes), and then blend those sounds to form words.
  • Analytical phonics: With this method, children identify (analyze) letter-sound relations to avoid pronouncing sounds in isolation.
  • Analogy phonics: Similar to analytical phonics, analogy phonics has children analyze unknown words and see how they compare to known words in order to figure out their pronunciation (e.g., if a child knows how to pronounce “brick” they could use analogy phonics to figure out how to pronounce “stick”).
  • Embedded phonics: This differs from other methods in that phonics instruction is given while reading a text instead of as a separate lesson.

At Steadfast Academy, we use a variety of techniques to help children learn to read and write. To learn more about our program, contact us today at 281-991-3999.