Phonics: The study of the relationships between letters and the sounds they represent; also used to describe reading instruction that teaches sound-symbol correspondences.

Decoding: The ability to translate a word from print to speech, usually by employing knowledge of sound-symbol correspondences; also the act of deciphering a new word by sounding it out.

Sound to Symbol: Phonics instruction that matches sounds to letters.

Students Should Demonstrate These Skills at the End of First Grade:

Letter-Sound and Letter-Combination Knowledge

  • Produces the sounds associated with all individual letters fluently (e.g., 1 letter-sound per second).
  • Produces the sounds that correspond to frequently used letter combinations (e.g., sh, er, th).

Decoding (Sounding Out Words)

  • Decodes (sounds out and blends) words with consonant blends (e.g., mask, slip, play).
  • Decodes (sounds out and blends) words with letter combinations accurately (diagraphs: fish, bath, chin; common letter combinations: book, farm, toy).
  • Uses knowledge of individual letter-sound correspondences and letter-combinations to read regular monosyllabic words fluently (e.g., mask, skip, play, fish, them, chin, at a rate of one word every 1 to 1.5 seconds).
  • Reads words with common words parts (e.g., ing, all, ike).