Phonics in Kindergarten

By: Lacey Thoman

Definition of Phonics

Phonics is defined as the system by which symbols represent sounds in an alphabet writing system (Ellery, 2009). Phonics is the relationship between spelling patterns and sound patterns (Ellery, 2009). Phonics is a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters in an alphabetic writing system (Tompkins, 2014). Readers use phonics to decode, or sound out, unknown words (Tompkins, 2014).

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Benefits of Phonics

Research indicated accelerated short vowel spelling with consequences for long vowel spellings on the part of phonics instructed kindergartners (Nelson, 1989). The amount of specific instructional content, as well as how this instruction was implemented, was related to students’ progress in early reading assessments of phonological awareness and letter naming-decoding fluency (Al Otaiba et al., 2008). Intervention effects in kindergarten tended to be greater for both LM and non-LM students who received more first grade word study instruction and more second grade meaning instruction (Vadasy & Sanders, 2013). Research showed that the measures of phonemic awareness, spelling, and reading the systematic phonics group made more progress than the non-systematic phonics group (De Graff, Bosman, Hasselman & Verhoeven, 2009).

Phonics Song - Preschool Prep Company

Strategies of Phonics

The phonics strategies are synthesizing, analyzing, contextualizing, patterning, spelling, and recognizing.Synthesizing phonics instruction is defined as combining parts or elements to form a whole letter + sound = word (Ellery, 2009). Analyzing phonics instruction is defined as reading the whole word and then “take it apart” to investigate word parts (Ellery, 2009).
Contextualizing phonics instruction is defined as using context clues to form words by applying several curing systems (Ellery, 2009). Patterning phonics instruction is defined as recognizing parts of unknown word and compares a similar pattern from known words (Ellery, 2009). Spelling phonics strategy is defined as transforming sounds into letters and letters into written word from (Ellery, 2009).


Phonics instruction teaches children the relationship between letter and sounds. Phonics instruction teaches children a system for remembering how to read words. Phonics has the greatest impact on children’s reading achievement when it begins in kindergarten. Phonics should be included in instruction for students who have not yet mastered the letter-sound relationship. There have been significant results in kindergarten for students being better readers and spellers than their peers who are not taught phonics. Phonics has also been proven to improve children’s reading comprehension. It has also been shown to prevent reading difficulties and help struggling readers overcome reading difficulties. Struggling readers need to learn to decode new words (Tompkins, 2014). Phonics is a very useful tool for identifying unfamiliar words, and struggling readers to decode words (Tompkins, 2014).