Phonics is a method of teaching reading in which you teach students the letters of the alphabet and their sounds first. Next, children are taught to blend the sounds phonetically to form words, and then to naturally build vocabulary, and increase fluency and comprehension. Children can begin reading within three to six months using the phonics method.

Synthetic Phonics

The synthetic phonics method begins by teaching children the 40 sounds of the alphabet as opposed to just the letters of the alphabet. Once those sounds are taught, the children learn sound blends and then move into forming words. One of the criticisms of synthetic phonics is that the word lists can make the reading limited and boring for the child. Synthetic phonics can be combined with the whole word, also known as the sight word method of instruction to move the child into more interesting reading more quickly.

Analytic Phonics

Using the analytic phonics method, children analyze letter-sound relationships in words. This method differs from the synthetic method as it does not focus on individual letters and sound relationships. The analytic method focuses on learning the onset, or sounds made before the first vowel and the rime, or sound that follows. For example, in the word cat, the "c" sound is the onset and "at" is the rime, forming the word cat. The analytic phonics method requires children to be able to say the onset, say the rime, and then be able to blend the two to form the word.

Analogy-Based Phonics

The method of analogy-based phonics allows children to learn to use parts of word families to decode words they don't know by identifying the parts of the words that are similar to words that are familiar. For example, the child may use their background of knowing the word green to read the word screen.

Embedded Phonics

In the embedded phonics method, children receive explicit instruction on the letter-sound relationships while reading print media. Sight word reading is utilized to teach the letter-sound relationship. This approach can be through explicit or not explicit, depending on whether the letter-sounds sequence is prescribed.

Onset-Rime Phonics Instruction

This method teaches the children to sound out the word. The child will identify the sound of the onset, or letters before the first vowel in a one syllable word, and then the sound rime, or the remaining part of the word. Then, the child will blend the two to create the word.