- Instant Reader
- August 31, 2017, 11:27 pm
There are about 44 phonemes listed that comprise the sounds in spoken English.
Let me reiterate (I’ve always mentioned this in my previous articles) that 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. Let‘s try to see more the relationship between phonetics and phonemics.
Phonemic awareness is under the study of Phonics or more popularly known as the phonetic system. The rule or standard approach in this system is as follows –after memorizing the alphabet it focused more on identifying and combining vowels and consonants, word syllabication, onset and rimes, alliteration and forming of sentences that often forces premature development of reading comprehension.
Phonemic Awareness is one of the most important yet neglected component in developing the child’s reading skill. The child will only be able to read words and sentences fluently once he has mastered the listed number of phonemes and learned the various techniques, phases and strategies that comprise phoneme awareness (i.e phoneme categorization, isolation, blending and manipulation). It is only when the child reaches fluency in reading when he begins to really enjoy reading. And when this happens, vocabulary building naturally comes making it easy for the child to further develop his reading comprehension skills.
Taking it from the research done by NRP, it’s such a monumental loss to miss these essential components to fully attain what genuine reading really is.
Let‘s try to examine deeper. Since we were all accustomed to the authority of the Alphabet as the sole tool in teaching reading, so how did the process of reading after learning the alphabet actually transpire?
So easy. Teachers made sure the reading aids are available and handy. They put pictures beside the words. For example, for the word MAT, they put a picture of the mat beside it. This technique is applied to other common words like ball, cat, dog, sun, balloon, pig, rat etc. The child became very familiar with the common words they get to use every day and when they see the same words again, they get to read each quickly and easily. Lo and behold… having followed the said technique, they already thought that the ?real process of READING transpired! It was actually fun seeing all the pictures beside every word. Reading seems to be so easy.
Check the books that you bought or the ones your child use in school. View commonly available videos on the net (i.e youtube), listen and see how beginning readers are taught reading through alphabet songs and picture-aided words. Do the works and examine them yourself.
However, more and more words that are not picture-aided are coming out from the sentences and paragraphs that the child has to read. His reading slows down and becomes less enjoyable. The child feels the stress and starts to complain, ? I don‘t like to read, it‘s so hard. It will only be a matter of days when he would declare that ?reading is not fun at all!”
It was not what and how he knew it the first time he memorized the alphabet and read words with pictures.
Without the knowledge and skill of phoneme awareness, words are often read by the teacher for the child or taught as one whole word. The child should be good in memorizing these non-picture-aided words to help him easily read them in a sentence. If the child finds it hard to recall or do such memory work, then, he will have all the excuses in the world just for you not to let him read. Mom gets puzzled and frustrated. The problem complicates even more and his performance in his subjects in school is being affected. The tutor comes in to rescue the child. Oftentimes, the tutor does the work for the child. The problem was not solved. Reading fluency and comprehension are two important skills that the child failed to develop. Decoding all those non-picture aided words in between sentences is truly making things harder for the child to reach fluency in reading.
Now here comes the bigger trap. The child encounters a new word without any picture. He struggles to say the word but obviously experiencing a hard time recalling and associating the word from his memory bank. He sees same letters and then starts to guess.
For example, the word was ?HAVE”…no picture beside it but then he saw there‘s an H and an E. His eyes started to brighten, then quickly blurted and read it confidently as ?HOUSE.
What will the teacher do? He will just correct it, ?no that‘s not house, that‘s read as “HAVE” And the child will just follow, ? ah ok, HAVE. The cycle goes on. The child will just be corrected without any explanation as to the correct process of how and why the words were read as such.
Since the child was accustomed to picture-aided words or taught to read dependent on visuals, his learning process begins to adapt to the given pattern.
Don’t let your child be a victim of this reading trap.
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)