In English we read by recognizing and processing the letters of each
word. Our writing system is founded an alphabetic script. This is true even of
‘speed-reading’, or the recognition of any word at a glance. Studies
have shown that the eyes of proficient readers lilt along the text in a
limping fashion, pausing on individual words, which are processed based
on the letters which spell the words. All word recognition depends
reader’s alphabetic-phonemic knowledge of the language.
Phonics is a very broad term used for any materials that teach the student the correlation between
our alphabet and the phonemes (sounds) of our language. Not all reading programs are of the same merit. Some are
more effective than others.
No program will ever be perfect. Even if the program could be
called "perfect" for one child, it wouldn't be for the next. For God has made each
child unique with his or her own gifts and strengths and weaknesses. All
children learn to walk in their own way, and they learn to talk in their
own time and with their own first words, phrases, and sentences.
Reading is the same way. Children learn to read at their own rate and in their own time.
Almost all children in our society learn to read--and to read
well--sooner or later. This is especially true for those who are
raised in a literate environment in which books are valued and well used. Yet
the structure of reading programs does make a
difference in the speed and ease with which children learn to read. Many studies
have verified that certain methods of reading instruction are more effective and
efficient than others.
In addition, the order in which different reading skills are taught is very important. The skill of reading
actually starts with much more rudimentary skills, such as understanding
the concepts of phonemes and the alphabetic principle. Such skills
can be easily taken for granted, but are in fact the foundation on which reading is