NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Phonics Instruction Essential in Reading Mastery

June 12, 2003

A study has confirmed that systematic phonics instruction is essential in teaching young children to read successfully. The new study is from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

  • The researchers' findings give great weight to the use of intensive phonics -- which emphasizes letter-sound relationships in reading instruction.
  • The report confirmed the findings of the National Reading Panel in its 2000 report.
  • Researchers noted that children's reading ability improves after they have acquired basic "phonemic awareness and letter knowledge" by the second grade.
  • Reid Lyon, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, who is also President Bush's chief adviser on reading instruction in schools, stressed that phonics is "absolutely necessary, non-negotiable, but by itself is not sufficient."

A comprehensive reading program must also include "phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension," Lyon added.

Source: George Archibald, "Researchers Verify Reading Ability Gets a Boost from Phonics," Washington Times, June 10, 2003.


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