When students are learning phonics, they are learning to associate sounds with symbols (letters). At the very core of phonics lies the alphabet. In order to master phonics a person must master the alphabet. Letters then need to be connected to their corresponding sounds. As we know as English speakers, this is easier said than done. Many sounds can be represented by different letters and letter combinations. Thus, learning phonics is an ongoing process for a developing reader. Phonics and phonemic awareness are intimately connected. Phonics relies heavily on the reader's phonemic awareness skills. The goal of phonics instruction is to help readers quickly determine the sounds in unfamiliar written words. When readers encounter new words in texts they use the elements of phonics to decode and understand them.