They are learning to solve and decode the mystery of stringed words. Learning phonics is the key to learning to read print.
"Research directly points to the direct relationship between phonic instruction and success in acquiring the skill to read print. In short, evidence on the importance of phonics is incontrovertible." (Savage, ). The practice of phonics everyday is the key to mastery in reading fluently. This should be practiced with music, where songs based on phonics can be reinforced. A video approach is even more effective, as it stimulates the auditory as well as the visual concept. And it is easy for the child to remember and decode information both using their auditory and visual stimulus. Flashcards can also be used for further practice. "The English writing system is based on alphabetic principle: that is the individual speech sounds (called phonemes) are represented in writing by individual alphabet sounds (called graphemes). Children need to understand the alphabetic principle as they learn to read. Mastering these sound symbol relationships is what phonics is all about." (Savage, ).
Phonemic awareness - the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds in spoken words is crucial to success in beginning reading. It is in-fact a better predictor of learning to read than listening ability, IQ and several other factors. Lack of phonemic awareness puts children at risk of failure to learning to read. Phonics should begin with rhyme recognition and rhyme production and continue with segmentation, isolation, deletion, substitution and blending of phonemes throughout the learning program. Emphasis should be on the five essential elements phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. . (Savage ).
Motivation should also be the key factor in reinforcing the concepts. Children should be exposed to a variety of folk tales, fairy tales, rhymes and stories from diverse cultures which can encourage them at their level of learning to code and decode the symbols and decipher the hidden meaning. This journey of exploration of literature should be rewarded by more challenging books, materials and rewards. (Savage ).
Although phonics remains an essential factor in the word recognition, other strategies should also be taught in helping children identify words and unlock the meaning of words they encounter in print. Children use multiple clues in identifying words, including sight recognition, and context clues all these need to be integrated with the study of phonics to nurture a fluent reader. This lesson should begin from home before Kindergarten years and should be fully mastered by third grade. The appropriate level of challenge should be maintained throughout. These skills should be taught to help children become productive and fluent readers. "Through critical attention to relevant research and careful observation of children in the reading-writing process, we teachers can intelligently decide how to teach phonics. . . . I prefer to teach phonics strategically, in the meaningful context of the predictable stories children read and write every day. In the context of written language, phonics instruction facilitates meaning making and independence."-Regie Routman, 1991(Weaver, 1996)
Comparative and naturalistic research indicates that encouraging children in phonics not through drill but integrated natural approach is more effective.