Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them to read and write. It runs alongside other teaching such as Guided Reading, Literacy lessons and shared reading to hopefully give children vital reading skills and a lifelong love of reading.
Children are taught all the sounds of the English language in a particular order which are known as phases. There are 6 phases in the Letters and Sounds programme which is the Department for Education’s phonics resource published in 2007. Children are then taught to blend (merge the sounds in the word to read e.g. c-a-t is cat) and segment (break up the word into the sounds that make it e.g. cat is c-a-t) in order to read and spell. Some words cannot be blended and segmented and these are known as tricky words (the, come and to are some examples).