Before children are introduced to books, they are taught individual sounds to construct words.
For example, when taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, the children can build up the words "tap", "pat", "pats", "taps" and "sat".
Phonics is the word used to describe the sounds the letters make. In simple terms, the word 'cat' can be read from its three sounds: c-a-t.
These are not the names of the letters as we say them in the alphabet, but the sounds these letters make.
Likewise, the word 'thick' is made up of three sounds: th-i-ck, where pairs of letters combine to make a single sound. Similarly, 'rash' is made up of three sounds: r-a-sh.
More top news
Early cloud and rain will slowly clear away from southeast England and East Anglia.
A Cornish fish restaurant has been named the best in the UK - knocking Cumbria's L'Enclume into second place after five years at the top.
There "will not be a war again on the Korean Peninsula", South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has said.