We know that it takes hours and hours of practice and work to learn to read. What is the best method to support and teach children this process? Evidence points to phonics-based reading instruction. This method involves explicit instruction in the sounds associated with the letters of the alphabet. It also includes instruction on how to manipulate, segment, and blend multiple sounds, or phonemes, into words.

Studies show that phonics-based reading instruction promotes higher achievement for all students, regardless of a student’s economic background and reading ability. Before Grade 2, this is the most effective way to teach children to read. It is also the best way to improve comprehension ability.

Effective phonics-based instruction includes work at the class, group, and individual level. Explicit training at each of these levels is important. Typically, instruction starts with simple and regular phoneme combinations, like cat or dog. Emphasizing the sound of each letter and how these letters blend together into words. In this way, phonics-based reading instruction builds on a strong foundation of phonological awareness. Then instruction can move toward more complex and irregular phoneme combinations, such as giraffe or dolphin. Phonics-based reading instruction systematically teaches children the rules of our written language so that they can sound out any word they see.