Many phonics programs in the market claim to use systematic synthetic phonics. However, they rely on a mnemonic system to teach. This goes against the core principles of systematic synthetic phonics.
A mnemonic system is designed to ‘aid memory’. In other words, learning a letter shape and the sound the letter represents is often achieved by using an object where the first letter and sound is the focus letter and sound.
a for apple, b for ball, and c for cake, with pictures of the objects.
This can complicate learners. Reasons:
- When kids learn the sound of the first letter of the object, they realise that the /a/ in “apple” sounds different from the /a/ in “ball” or /a/ in “cake” and get confused
- Furthermore, for non-native English speakers, it slows down the learning process as the kids have to memorise the object name before associating the initial letter sound to the object
Reading PANTS ensures that the learner upon seeing a letter, automatically says, or thinks of its corresponding phoneme so that the sounding out and blending process can occur for easier reading.