Why Phonics?

What is Synthetic Phonics?

Synthetic Phonics is a method of teaching children to read and spell the English language. It involves the explicit and systematic teaching of the relationship between speech sounds and the spelling patterns that represent them. The aim of Synthetic Phonics instruction is to initially teach the most common sound-spelling correspondences so that the children can learn to synthesise, or blend together the sounds in the words.

Why Synthetic Phonics?

Research shows that Synthetic Phonics is the most effective way to teach a child to read. Here in Australia, the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, 2005, recommended that teachers provide systematic, direct and explicit phonics instruction.  The independent review of the primary curriculum in the UK, The Rose Report, 2006, mandated that Synthetic Phonics be implemented in all English and Welsh schools. In addition, The National Reading Panel, 2006, in the USA concluded that systematic phonics instruction had significant benefits for students throughout the primary years.

Why learn the sound-spelling correspondences?

Our English language consists of 44 sounds yet there are only 26 letters of the alphabet. This means that it is necessary for letters to be combined to represent the remaining speech sounds. Two letters can be combined to make one sound such as ch (digraph) in chip to represent the /ch/ sound, whereas the three letters tch  (trigraph) are used in the word catch to also represent the /ch/ sound. Quadgraphs are four letters that combine to make one sound and can be found in words such as: through, straight, eight. It is important for children to recognise the sound-spelling correspondences and apply this knowledge when blending the sounds in the words. The teaching of these correspondences is most effective when introduced systematically by commencing with the most common vowels and consonants through to the more complex alternative spellings.


Why use Phonics Australia’s Resources?

Phonics Australia has sourced resources from the UK and Australia that provide an explicit and systematic approach to the teaching of reading and spelling. This structured approach is beneficial for both initial reading instruction and for students with reading difficulties.

All the Phonic Book and Little Learner resources provide a sequential phonic progression which allows the children to learn to read as they learn the letters of the alphabet. With this Synthetic Phonic approach, the children learn, for example, the sound-spelling correspondences of the letters s, a, t, i, m and blend these sounds together to form VC (Vowel, Consonant) and CVC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) words. These reading and resource books support the child by providing only content that is decodable.