[fon-iks or for 2, foh-niks]
noun (used with a singular verb)
a method of teaching reading and spelling based upon the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.
Obsolete, phonetics.

1675–85; phon- + -ics Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
phonics (ˈfɒnɪks)
1.  an obsolete name for acoustics
2.  a method of teaching people to read by training them to associate letters with their phonetic values

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1683, "science of sound," from Gk. phone "sound" (see fame). The meaning "method of teaching reading" is first attested 1908, though the system dates from 1844.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Phonics is a good start, but the only the easy part.
It is also an excellent tool for improving phonological awareness and practicing phonics skills.
The combination of phonics and subject matter has great merit.
It also gives me an opportunity to teach phonics and spelling.
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