Several approaches to phonics instruction have found support in the research (National Reading Panel, 2000). These approaches are sometimes modified or combined in reading programs.

Synthetic Phonics Instruction

Traditional phonics instruction in which students learn how to change letters or letter combinations into speech sounds, then blend them together to form known words (i.e., sounding out).

Embedded Phonics Instruction

Teaching students phonics by embedding phonics instruction in text reading, a more implicit approach that relies to some extent on incidental learning (National Reading Panel, 2000, p. 8).

Analogy-Based Phonics

A variation of onset and rime instruction that has students use their knowledge of word families to identify new words that have that same word part. For example, students learn to pronounce light by using their prior knowledge of the -ight rime from three words they already new: right, might, and night.

Analytic Phonics Instruction

A variation of the previous two approaches, students study previously learned whole words to discover letter-sound relationships. For example, Stan, steam, and story all include the st word element (st is known as a consonant blend).

Phonics Through Spelling

Students segment spoken words into phonemes and write letters that represent those sounds to create the word in print. For example, rat can be sounded out and written phonetically. This approach is often used as part of a process writing program.