Teach letter names before teaching the sounds of the letters.  It is easier for students to learn the sounds for those letters that contain their sound in the initial position in their names (b,d,j,k,p,t,v,z), followed by those letters whose sounds are embedded within the letter’s name (f,l,m,n,r,s,x), leaving for last those letters whose sounds are not found in the letter’s name (h, w, y).
The complexities of letter names in English might lead you to think we should not teach letter names at all, but research suggests that teaching letter names is still worthwhile7—it just needs to be accompanied by lots of attention to the sound or sounds commonly associated with each letter and by a thorough understanding of the challenges posed by English letter names. A teacher with such knowledge would understand, for example, why a young child might spell the word daisy as WAZ. Why? Sometimes children write “W” for the /d/ sound because the letter name for Ww—“double-u”—begins with the /d/ sound. The next sound we hear in daisy is the letter name for Aa (the long a sound), and the third and fourth sounds in daisy are the name of the letter Zz (“zee”).
As children become readers, they need to understand and use the relationship between letters and sounds to read words.[1] Phonics requires knowledge of letter recognition, sound recognition, and their associations. This means that children must recognize letters in words, and then produce their corresponding sounds to read words. Fortunately, there are fun activities that you can do with your child to promote phonics!

Sifting through the various educational options can be confusing as parents try to find the best fit for their child and budget. Time4Learning shares Hooked On Phonics® belief in the importance of engaging children and the significance of phonics. Many families like Time4Learning’s convenience, appeal to the children, and educational effectiveness. Time4Learning’s approach integrates phonics into a broad language arts (and math) curriculum. Parents can decide how much of the extensive program to use since Time4Learning is student-paced.
Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read is an award-winning program that has helped over 5 million kids become confident readers. The Learn to Read program is based on research and approved by the Children’s Reading Foundation. Designed in conjunction with leading educators, award-winning authors, teachers and parents, Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read uses a proven, simple, and fun method to give your child a strong foundation in phonics and reading skills. The complete Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read kit contains all 8 levels of the award-winning program, from Pre-K to 2nd Grade.
Short vowels are the five single letter vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, when they produce the sounds /æ/ as in cat, /ɛ/ as in bet, /ɪ/ as in sit, /ɒ/ or /ɑ/ as in hot, and /ʌ/ as in cup. The term "short vowel" is historical, and meant that at one time (in Middle English) these vowels were pronounced for a particularly short period of time; currently, it means just that they are not diphthongs like the long vowels.
To understand the big picture, children must understand the alphabetic principle—how our English system of writing works. The alphabetic principle is simply that visual symbols (letters) represent speech sounds (phonemes). To write the spoken word “dog,” you use alphabetic symbols to represent the speech sounds. We can combine and recombine letter symbols to form words. As odd as it may sound, children can learn letters and even letter sounds in very rote ways without understanding the alphabetic system. When children do not understand the alphabetic principle, they may do the following:
Jolly Phonics is a comprehensive programme, based on the proven, fun and muliti-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets children reading and writing from an early age. This means that we teach letter sounds as opposed to the alphabet. These 42 letter sounds are phonic building blocks that children, with the right tools, use to decode the English language. When reading a word, they recognise the letters and blend together the respective sounds; when writing a word they identify the sounds and write down the corresponding letters. These skills are called blending and segmenting. These are two of the five skills that children need to master phonics:
As you may have noticed phonics and phonemic awareness (the understanding that words are comprised of small segments of sound) are intimately connected. Phonics relies heavily on a reader’s phonemic awareness. The reader must not only understand that words are made up of phonemes (small units of sound), he must also know a number of phonemes. Since a reader’s primary phonemic awareness develops through speaking and listening, most children come to reading with many phonemes stored in their knowledge banks. Phonics instruction connects these phonemes with written letters so that they can transfer their knowledge of sounds to the printed word. This is why phonics instruction is an important component of early reading education.

Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read is an award-winning program that has helped over 5 million kids become confident readers. The Learn to Read program is based on research and approved by the Children’s Reading Foundation. Designed in conjunction with leading educators, award-winning authors, teachers and parents, Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read uses a proven, simple, and fun method to give your child a strong foundation in phonics and reading skills. The complete Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read kit contains all 8 levels of the award-winning program, from Pre-K to 2nd Grade.

The company built a successful business based upon significant advertising, leading to sales of over $100M per year. The product, along with its catchphrase "Hooked on Phonics worked for me!" (spoken by children in the product's television ads) and its telephone number "1-800-ABCDEFG" (now belonging to the Wilshire Law Firm), became widely recognized during the mid-1990s.[3]
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Once children can identify the names of each letter, they can begin learning the most common sounds represented by each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. ABCmouse.com’s collection of The Letter Songs A–Z will help children identify those sounds, as will the hundreds of other games and activities such as the Alphabet Bubble Burst game and the book Alphabet in the Park.
The complexities of letter names in English might lead you to think we should not teach letter names at all, but research suggests that teaching letter names is still worthwhile7—it just needs to be accompanied by lots of attention to the sound or sounds commonly associated with each letter and by a thorough understanding of the challenges posed by English letter names. A teacher with such knowledge would understand, for example, why a young child might spell the word daisy as WAZ. Why? Sometimes children write “W” for the /d/ sound because the letter name for Ww—“double-u”—begins with the /d/ sound. The next sound we hear in daisy is the letter name for Aa (the long a sound), and the third and fourth sounds in daisy are the name of the letter Zz (“zee”).

Alongside this process of learning to decode (read) words, children will need to continue to practise forming letters which then needs to move onto encoding. Encoding is the process of writing down a spoken word, otherwise known as spelling. They should start to be able to produce their own short pieces of writing, spelling the simple words correctly.
^ "National Reading Panel (NRP) – Publications and Materials – Summary Report". National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 2000. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10.
In the reading skills pyramid, a visual illustration of the process kids go through when learning to read, phonics follows closely behind phonemic awareness. Once children understand that letters have associated sounds, they begin to make relationships between those sounds and spelling. This is the skill that helps beginning readers decode — or sound out — new words. The key elements of reading are:
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To understand concept of word in print, children need to watch others reading print and pointing to words.6 In classrooms, this may be a teacher reading charts or big books to children and pointing to the words as they read. Teachers may also use pointers and sometimes ask children to point to words. In addition to watching others, children need to practice pointing to words themselves. A great way to do this is to allow children to point to words in a memorized line of print, in a dictated story of their own words, or in a simple book with short, repetitive sentences. Although it sounds like a really simple task, it is not. In fact, there are actually stages that occur as children learn to point to print. Specifically, they must gain control of multisyllabic words and show understanding that a word like elephant, with three syllables, is actually one unified word. When children cannot handle multisyllabic words, they will point to new words for each syllable in a word (e.g., if the text said “kittens cry,” the child would point at the word “kittens” for the syllable kit and then point at the word “cry” for the syllable tens).
The correspondence between letters and sounds presents itself in several different ways. While letters remain the same, sound comes in different units: syllables, onsets and rimes and phonemes. Each syllable is made up of an onset, a rime or a combination of both. An onset is any consonants presented before a vowel in a syllable. For example, in the word “star”/st/ is the onset. Conversely a rime is any vowel and consonant(s) following an onset. In “star”/ar/ is the rime. Phonemes are the small units of sound that make up a word. While “star” consists of only one syllable, it contains four different phonemes: /s/ /t/ /a/ /r/.
Indeed, phonics reading is very important in the education of children. The report of National Reading Panel indicates that teaching children phonics will help them in many ways in life. In the first instance, phonics reading is very important in helping children to learn how to spell words. It will be impossible for a person to spell any word correctly if the person is not able to recognize the sounds of the letters used in forming the words. When a child is taught phonics, the child will be able to recognize sounds in words and will be able to spell them correctly.
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is a free tutorial that uses cartoons and sounds with audio narration and clickable words to teach phonics. This method teaches just basic phonics concepts without struggle or frustration and includes rules for vowels, consonants, and blends along with practice pages. These pages were created to make it easy and fun for new readers -- children or adults -- to navigate through the lessons. So we invite students, along with parents and school teachers, to click and hear words while enjoying the pictures.
This table depicts several different types of phonics instructional approaches that vary according to the unit of analysis or how letter-sound combinations are represented to the student. For example, in synthetic phonics approaches, students are taught to link an individual letter or letter combination with its appropriate sound and then blend the sounds to form words. In analytic phonics, students are first taught whole word units followed by systematic instruction linking the specific letters in the word with their respective sounds.
There has been much research all over the world on Jolly Phonics, which can be viewed here. The research shows that the progress made by children using Jolly Phonics far exceeds that of children not taught using a synthetic phonics approach. It is effective across the ability range, with boys doing just as well as girls, while those with English as their second language can do as well as children who have it as their first.
Some people think that teaching letter names is essentially teaching their sounds, but unfortunately that is not the case in English. Some letter names don’t have a sound commonly associated with the letter at all. Neither Hh, Ww, nor Yy has its commonly associated sound in its name (e.g., there is no /h/, as in happy, in the name of the letter Hh (“aych”)). Knowing these letters’ names definitely does not lead children to know their associated sounds. Some other letters’ names contain one of the sounds commonly associated with the name but not the other. For example, Cc has one of its common sounds in its name (/s/) but not the other (/k/).
After they’ve gained phonemic awareness and early phonics skills, students move even closer to learning to read. With Time4Learning, 1st graders begin learning phonics online by translating syllables into words and focusing on phonetic spelling strategies. In 2nd grade, students advance their phonics knowledge by decoding multisyllabic words and recognizing word roots, prefixes and suffixes.
For key words to do their job, children must be able to separate the first sound in the word from the rest of the word (e.g., to separate the /b/ from the /all/ in ball). Ideally, children develop this skill, called initial phoneme segmentation, during or before the prekindergarten year. However, not all children meet this expectation. Fortunately, you can work on this skill while teaching the alphabet, including alphabet key words. Research strongly suggests that phonemic awareness (conscious awareness of the individual sounds in spoken words—for example, recognizing that sheep has three sounds: /sh/, /ee/, and /p/), although an entirely oral skill, is actually best developed with accompanying letters. This initial phoneme segmentation issue is also why you should be judicious about using alphabet key words that begin with blends (two consonant letters pronounced in succession in a syllable, such as dr in drum); it is especially difficult for young children to separate the initial phoneme in a blend.
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