Many scientific studies have proven that explicit systematic phonics instruction is the most effective way to teach children to read. That sounds pretty complicated, but in simple terms:
Teaching phonics means teaching children the sounds made by individual letters or letter groups. So, the letter ‘c’ makes a ‘k’ sound. Once the sounds are learnt, the little reader learns to merge - or blend - the separate sounds to make a word. So, the sounds ‘k’, ‘a’ and ‘t’ make ‘cat’. It’s about teaching children to decode letters into their corresponding sounds.
Teaching explicit phonics means that children are taught directly about the associations between letters and sounds. Alternative approaches expect children to learn that indirectly.
Learning the code is like a journey: you have to start at the beginning. The process starts with simple letter sound rules and then moves on to more complex patterns and rules. It is a methodical, or systematic, process.