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Phonics and Decoding

Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between the sounds of spoken language, and the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language. Successful decoding occurs when a student uses his or her knowledge of letter-sound relationships to accurately read a word. This section provides information about how to teach children to sound out words, and what to do if a child is having difficulty linking letters and sounds.

Refresh your phonics instruction! Try the Phonics module in our free, self-paced online course, Reading 101: A Guide to Teaching Reading and Writing.

Featured Video: Phonics and Decoding

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Our PBS Television Series:
Launching Young Readers

Al Roker

Learn the warning signs for a child who may have difficulties with reading and why early intervention is so important.

Annette Bening

Explore how children learn the relationship between sounds, letters, and words.

Classroom Strategies

Classroom Strategies

Each strategy includes instructions on how to use, downloadable templates and examples, video demonstrations, children's books to use with the strategy, differentiation for ELLs and students with learning disabilities, and supporting research.

Professional Development Webcasts

Professional Development Webcasts

Listen, watch, and learn from top experts in these engaging roundtable discussions. Each webcast features a 60–minute video as well as recommended readings and suggested discussion questions.

"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943