Language-rich environments are key to overall quality in early childhood settings, including frequent child-staff interactions around picture books and dramatic play. In a language-rich environment, explicit teaching of literacy concepts, such as phonics, is embedded in authentic and meaningful situations where alphabet letters and sounds are taught in a context meaningful to the child. Recent research, however, suggests that the use of commercial pre-packaged phonics programs (such as Letterland and Jolly Phonics) is widespread in prior to school settings in Sydney, Australia. Little is known about why early childhood teachers choose to use such programs with children aged five and under. In the present study, thematic analysis of data from interviews with five early childhood teachers using commercial phonics programs found that their reasons were pragmatic rather than pedagogical. Motivations included the idea that the programs reduced their workload, provided tangible evidence to parents of their child's 'school readiness', and served as a marketing tool to attract parents. Further analysis found that the teachers were unable to articulate what phonics and phonological awareness are and how they are learnt in early childhood.