phonics

noun, plural in form but singular in construction
pho·​nics | \ ˈfä-niks How to pronounce phonics (audio) , sense 1 is also ˈfō- How to pronounce phonics (audio) \

Definition of phonics

1 : the science of sound : acoustics
2 : a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups, and especially syllables

Keep scrolling for more

How Do You Teach phonics?

In the field of beginning reading, there are two basic schools of thought in the U.S. today. One emphasizes "whole language" teaching, which relies on teaching a lot of reading; the other emphasizes phonics, teaching how letters and syllables correspond to sounds. Phonics instruction may be especially difficult in English, since English has the most difficult spelling of any Western language. Consider the various ways we create the f *sound in *cough, photo, *and *giraffe, or the sh sound in special, issue, vicious, *and *portion, or the k sound in tack, quite, and shellac, and how we pronounce the o in do, core, lock, *and *bone, or the ea in lead, ocean, idea, and early. Teaching phonics obviously isn't an easy job, but it's probably an important one.

Examples of phonics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dayton schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said in the Ohio 8 conference that teaching the basics, like phonics, involves showing students how the mouth forms certain sounds, which is difficult over a screen. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Keeping focused on reading and math basics poses problems for children learning at home," 6 July 2020 The International Literacy Association recently rebutted the phonics-first narrative with a report that synthesized evidence from decades of research on teaching children to read. Kindel Turner Nash, The Conversation, "There’s more than one good way to teach kids how to read," 21 Jan. 2020 Mary Newton, a founding member of the Wisconsin Reading Coalition, which has long advocated for a more explicit approach to phonics instruction, said she was encouraged by Stanford Taylor's announcement. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "DPI endorses 'explicit phonics instruction' as critical component of reading instruction," 22 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phonics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of phonics

circa 1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phonics

Time Traveler for phonics

Time Traveler

The first known use of phonics was circa 1684

See more words from the same year

Statistics for phonics

Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Phonics.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phonics. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for phonics

phonics

noun
How to pronounce phonics (audio) How to pronounce phonics (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of phonics

: a method of teaching people to read and pronounce words by learning the sounds of letters, letter groups, and syllables

phonics

noun
pho·​nics | \ ˈfä-niks How to pronounce phonics (audio) \

Kids Definition of phonics

: a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the usual sound of letters, letter groups, and syllables

phonics

noun plural but singular in construction
pho·​nics | \ ˈfän-iks, 1 is also ˈfō-niks \

Medical Definition of phonics

1 : the science of sound : acoustics
2 : a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups, and especially syllables

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on phonics

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with phonics

Spanish Central: Translation of phonics

Nglish: Translation of phonics for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phonics for Arabic Speakers

Comments on phonics

What made you want to look up phonics? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!