2.5 Phonics- Strengths and Limitations

Learning Intentions

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the phonics approach to reading
  • Indicate why letter-sound knowledge and “statistical learning” are essential for reading an alphabet-based writing system
  • Understanding the central but limited role of phonics in reading


View Session 5 below.

*Please see the Transcripts resource folder located in Module 0 for a text copy of the transcript from this video. 


  • The phonics approach gets superior results to the whole word and whole language approaches
  • There is still a sizable percentage of students who struggle, even with phonic approach
  • Phonics skills represent a necessary but not sufficient element in skilled word-level reading

Reflect & Connect

Why might the phonics approach be more effective than other classic teaching methods? Why is it still ineffective for some struggling readers?