- Instant Reader
- August 31, 2017, 11:34 pm
Of course it isn’t completely wrong! But being pinned down solely to the 26 letters of the alphabet is not enough to really make a child learn to read quickly and effectively. It is actually the silent trap that slows down the process of learning to read.
It has been repeatedly mentioned in our previous articles that phoneme awareness has something to do with learning reading the right way. So what are these phonetics and phonemes all about?? What do these terms really mean? What is the difference be-tween the two?
A mom asked me, ? are phonemes same as phonetics? “In my child‘s school that‘s how they were taught to read!” She confidently mentioned that the 26 letters of the alphabet were taught to their students through their sounds.
There seems to be an association between phonemic awareness and phonetic reading approach. Yes, there is a relation between the two but their approach to the beginning stages of learning reading and developing the skill totally differs. Since the approach differs, the effect differs more.
OK now, let‘s focus first on Phonetics since I believe this word has become more popular among all the reading approaches that came out in the field. In this approach, instead of just teaching the names of the letters of the alphabet, students are now taught not just the letter names but the sounds solely confined to the 26 letters of the alphabet, deliberately categorizing vowels and consonant letters.
The trend or the usual pattern, I would say is that kids will learn to read three or four letter words and very simple sentences through this approach — that is with the aid of pictures and achievable for most children only after spending two to three years in preschool.
Compared to just learning and memorizing the alphabet ,through this picture-aided approach, more students responded and improved the way they learned to read .The technique spread and almost all the new and rising schools adapted the system. The materials being used got a big share in the market.
However, though an improvement was seen or experienced in the way the known ?phonetic approach was used in teaching beginning readers, surveys and even Deped statistics regarding its use and application were not enough to conclude that it is the ultimate system that could significantly make any child read. If this had been so, then our reading-literacy problem could have been solved long ago.
What could be the reasons?
We have to accept the fact that there are several speech sounds not being covered by merely focusing on the 26 letters of the alphabet.
Making students depend on pictures will never ever bridge the gap. Not all words can be aided by pictures!
What is also strongly emphasized in phonetic approach is simply letting the child identify the be-ginning, middle and ending letter of a given word. Moreover, in the phonetic approach if a child can find and identify the locations of these letters in a word, could mean that the he has already leveled -up in reading. With this skill, he is already expected to properly and strongly comprehend what he has read. However there‘s more to reading than just identifying the locations of letters in a word.
Yes, reading may have taken place through phonetic approach. It worked for so many kids. However it takes a long period of time for them to read and understand more complicated words since several units of sounds (phonemes) were not included when the 26 letters of the alphabet were introduced. It would not be surprising if they tend to just guess the given words or sight read and just memorize them most of the time. They resort to such method to be able to survive in the task of reading. This is usually the root cause of why there are so many struggling readers.
Learning reading by applying the known phonetic approach alone is still a slow process to reading. The system is very much prone to reading traps.
Once this information-age/digital generation of kids become bored and stressed in reading, their focus would be lost and the love for reading deteriorates.
The burden is again passed on to the parents. Their kids are left behind in the fast pace of the learning system in school. Again, tutors come to their rescue!
Learning to read is tougher than what people think. To learn to decode and read printed words, children must be aware that embedded in the spoken words are individual units of sounds termed as phonemes. The skill to identify, blend, segment and manipulate all these phonemes lead to its mastery perfectly termed as phoneme awareness — exactly where genuine reading starts.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Teacher Vicki the author and founder of Instant Reader™ . My 25 years in the teaching field continues to strengthen my conviction that an effective and proper reading foundation indeed gives any child a significant edge not just in school but life in totality. Children who are early readers are lovers of learning. They lead, they stand out and are able to unleash their full potentials.
I want to hear from you. Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are very much welcome. It’s always great to keep on learning from each other.
( BS Development Communication, UP Los Banos; M.A.in Education, UP Diliman; Diploma in Dyslexia , Blackford Centre for Dyslexia, UK, London)