Reading and writing are complex processes requiring a variety of knowledge sources and thinking abilities. For effective reading and writing, individuals need a working knowledge of encoding/decoding, vocabulary, syntax, anaphora, prosody, and text structure. They need to have experiences with the world in which they live--experiences stored in the brain and used as they construct meaning during the reading and writing process. Reading involves the ability to translate written language into spoken language (decoding), and writing involves the ability to represent spoken language with the symbols designated for that purpose (encoding). Writers select appropriate words (vocabulary/ schemata), use appropriate punctuation (prosodic features of print), use appropriate sentence patterns (syntax), organize their sentences in some cohesive fashion (anaphora), and organize the entire text in some meaningful way (text structure) to communicate their ideas to readers. Readers use their schemata, vocabulary, prosody, syntax, anaphora, and text structure knowledge to help them understand what writers are trying to communicate. In other words, writers need specific knowledge sources to be able to connect important ideas between sentences and larger units of text, and readers need those same knowledge sources to be able to perceive those idea relationships. Furthermore, both readers and writers must be able to think. Effective writers use their thinking abilities to entertain, teach, and create visual images from written words. Effective readers use their thinking abilities to read between the lines, perceive relationships among ideas, create their own visual images, and critically evaluate the messages writers create. Reading is a process involving much more than decoding. However, without the ability to translate the written language into spoken language, readers could not "read." Without the ability to decode, individuals could not access the knowledge sources and thinking abilities needed to construct meaning from written text. In short, the knowledge sources used by readers to engage in literal, inferential, and critical reading are dependent on their ability to decode. Decoding knowledge, therefore, is a critical component in the reading process. The focus of this text is decoding. The major portion of this book is organized as a self-instruction text to help you understand phonics and its role in the enhancement of decoding processes and overall reading growth. Phonics knowledge is needed for the identification of words both by analogy and context. It is also necessary for "sounding out" both single-syllable and multisyllabic words, and for identifying words by morphemic analysis. Furthermore, existing research reveals that phonics knowledge is needed for extensive word recognition. Since word recognition is necessary for reading fluency, and reading fluency is essential for reading comprehension, phonics knowledge is extremely important. The latter portion of this book is devoted to phonics teaching. In this portion of the book, you will be introduced to teaching activities that direct children's attention toward written words so they can discover how speech sounds are mapped onto print. These activities are designed to help children learn strategies for identifying written words they don't recognize and, in the process, enhance their word recognition abilities. This text can be used in college courses, in-service workshops, and independently by individuals who wish to improve their understanding and use of phonics.J. Lloyd Eldredge is the author of 'Phonics for Teachers: Self-Instruction, Methods, and Activities, 2nd Edition', published 2003 under ISBN 9780131115248 and ISBN 0131115243.