Phonics is an
approach which is based on teaching the relationship between letters
and combinations of letters and the sounds that go with them.
Phonics attempts to develop the strategy of using grapho-phonic
cue. This is important because not all books and texts contain pictures
which give clues to the meaning of a text. As texts become more
complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to rely on memory alone.
Pupils need to know how to process print, in other words, to decode
the printed word and attach meaning to it. Reading programmes should
therefore aim to help pupils deal with a high proportion of the
common phonic patterns encountered in general reading.
It is important to realize the distinction between phonetics and
phonics. Phonetics attempts to represent the sounds of language
through the use of symbols - hence, the International Phonetic Alphabet
(IPA). Teachers do not need to know the IPA in order to teach phonics.