Synthetic phonics and systemic phonics are two different approaches to teaching phonics, which is a method of teaching reading and spelling by focusing on the sounds (phonemes) of spoken language and their corresponding letter(s) or letter combinations (graphemes).
Synthetic Phonics: Synthetic phonics is an instructional method that emphasizes the blending of individual phonemes to form words. It starts with teaching the basic phonemes and their corresponding graphemes and then progresses to blending these sounds together to read words. In synthetic phonics, students learn the letter-sound relationships and practice blending these sounds to read unfamiliar words. It involves breaking down words into their individual phonemes and then blending those phonemes together to form the whole word. For example, students might learn the sounds /s/, /a/, and /t/ and then blend them together to read the word "sat."
Systemic Phonics: Systemic phonics, also known as analytic phonics or analogy-based phonics, takes a different approach to teaching phonics. Instead of focusing on individual phonemes, systemic phonics emphasizes the teaching of word families, patterns, and the larger sound units within words. It involves teaching students to recognize and analyze common phonograms (letter combinations or chunks) within words. For example, students might learn that the "at" pattern appears in words like "cat," "hat," and "mat." They then apply this knowledge to read and spell other words with the same pattern.
In summary, the main difference between synthetic and systemic phonics lies in their instructional methods. Synthetic phonics focuses on teaching individual phonemes and blending them together, while systemic phonics emphasizes the teaching of word families and patterns. Both approaches have their merits, and educators often use a combination of synthetic and systemic phonics strategies in reading instruction to provide a comprehensive approach to phonics learning.