The argument that we need phonics to figure out new words is true and false. We don’t use individual sounds to figure out new words. We tend to chunk words into syllable sound bites. So, to figure out the word contentious, we would see con-ten-tious. That’s a mixture of phonics and sight word/sounds. Fluent readers take only small parts of a word to see the whole. This comes through in the interesting exercise of reading this:


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