Phonics is a method of teaching reading which focuses on the relationship between the spoken sound of a letter, or group of letters, and the written letter or group of letters. It is typically taught in the early years of schooling, before children move on to reading more complex texts.
The ultimate goal of phonics is to enable children to read any text accurately, fluently, and with comprehension. To achieve this, children need to be able to decode (sound out) unfamiliar words, and to recognise common words by sight. Once they have developed these skills, they can begin to read with confidence and understanding.
There are many different approaches to teaching phonics, but all effective programs share some common features. These include a focus on the sounds of spoken language, explicit teaching of the connection between these sounds and the written symbols that represent them, and plenty of practice in applying this knowledge to reading and writing.