Phonics as the Foundation for Reading and Spelling
The Simple View of Reading, proposed by researchers Gough and Tumner in 1986, states that reading has two main components: word recognition (decoding) and language comprehension, both of which are necessary for skilled reading for meaning. These two components are made of five aspects: phonemic skills (awareness of the sounds in words), phonics, vocabulary, language structure and fluency.
Phonics is one part of the picture but it is the gateway to reading and, as such, is crucial.
Systematic synthetic phonics is well established as the best method for teaching decoding and also the reverse, encoding (spelling).
Academic peer-reviewed research points the way to what a good quality programme should and shouldn't include and how pupils should be taught by direct, explicit instruction to manage sounds, letters and words when reading and spelling.