Phonics vs. Phonetic Alphabet

You do know that phonics is totally different to the “phonetic alphabet” yeah?

I’m just asking because I’ve seen a LOT of teachers on Facebook confusing the two.

What’s “phonics”?

Phonics is simply how you teach reading.Β  It’s used the world over.Β  It’s dead easy and gets great results (even though it has quite a techy sounding name πŸ™‚ )

Once your kids can speak you can read more about phonics here.Β 

So what’s the phonetic alphabet then?

On the other hand the International Phonetic Alphabet, sometimes called the IPA or in Russia they often call it “transcription,” is where the different pronunciations of sounds are written with those funky looking symbols eg

This is awesome if you are teaching university level linguistics,.

Or if you are living in a country with no internet or technology.

Or if you are living at the end of the 19th century when it was invented.

If you’re living in 2019 then you don’t need it.

In fact you’re hindering 99% your students if you even mention it.

So if someone asks if you are using “phonics” in class,Β  make sure you’re talking about the right thing!



Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

3 Responses to “Phonics vs. Phonetic Alphabet”

  1. BRIAN

    Phonics is easy to teach and young students will understand.

    I spend 60 hours pers student teaching phonics and how to use it to read a word

    Phonics is how you can pronounce that word made famous by Julie Andrews


  2. Varvara

    Hi Richard,
    А huge thank you for your wonderful explanation. Where can I buy your phonics cards?

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