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Parent Questions and Answers

Parent Question: What is phonics?

Whew!  That is a big question!  Phonics is generally described as letter-sound connections.  The root word comes from the same Greek word as phone and phonograph – it is all about sound.  In English there are approximately 44 sounds that make up our whole phonics system.  Sounds easy, right?  But one of the challenges in English is that those 44 sounds are represented in more than more than a thousand different configurations of letters.  On top of that, they can sound different in words that are remarkably similar!  Think about ‘mint’ or ‘hint’ —now think ‘pint.’  Or think about ‘though’ and ‘through’ and ‘cough.’  It takes some time for the human brain (a child’s or an adult’s) to process these unusual differences in our system of language.  That is why we all need to remember that phonics is only one part of reading – and writing, too!

Happy Reading!  From Teresa in Albany, NY – (a long-time educator)