Phonics, a method of teaching reading, involves connection of sounds to groups of letters. Phonics also can help children in the process of learning spelling.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress released in 2003, 36 percent of fourth graders and 25 percent of eighth graders read below the basic level. The lack of basic education often leads to high school dropouts and illiteracy evident in the adult population in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 14 percent or 32 million adults in the U.S. have low literacy skills. Levels of proficiency in reading needs to be addressed in elementary school to prevent problems in later life.
In some writing systems of non-English languages, pictographs are used to represent meanings of sounds, while the English alphabet represents sounds. To read English well and have strong communication skills, students must learn the sounds of English letters and understand how they work together. When phonics is introduced as a way to teach English, language learners can learn correct pronunciation and grammar to avoid flaws that will result in poor communication.
Phonics provides a foundation of learning meant to help make reading easier. Phonics builds a foundation used to help children learn to read by breaking down words into sounds and building letter and word recognition. This can enhance a child's ability to use unknown words in the future. Phonics enables children to blend words and teach them how to dissect words, while improving spelling ability and increasing pronunciation.
According to the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), approximately 90 to 95 percent of reading-impaired children may achieve their reading goals if given the proper instruction and treatment. It recommends that children be taught phonics and language instruction.
The stigma of not being able to read or having difficulty pronouncing words may cause problems with self-image and self-confidence. When a child learns phonics, it can build his confidence, so he begins to speak up more often.
Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.