Something I was very unaware of before I started working in this field is that there is more than one type of phonics.  It is kind-of like saying you want pizza for dinner without specifying which kind.  The differences in phonics comes from the manner of instruction, sequence, and the way it is used in handling unfamiliar words in text.  There are two main types of phonics instruction: Implicit and Explicit. 

Explicit phonics, also referred to as synthetic phonics, builds from part to whole. It begins with the instruction of the letters (graphemes) with their associated sounds (phonemes). Next, explicit phonics teaches blending and building, beginning with blending the sounds into syllables and then into words. Explicit phonics is scientifically proven and research based.

Implicit phonics, also referred to as analytical phonics, moves from the whole to the smallest part. Phonemes associated with particular graphemes are not pronounced in isolation. Students analyze words and look for the common phoneme in a set of words. Through comparison and identification, they deduce which grapheme to write or which phoneme to read. Blending and building are not usually taught, and students identify new words by their shape, beginning and ending letters, and context clues.

It has been proven that Explicit phonics is the most effective type of phonics instruction and really helps those struggling readers. It is necessary for anyone with a processing disorder. Remember as you’re looking for phonics programs that the way it is presented is one of the most important aspects to look for.