Comment: Teaching children how to readApril 20, 2016, 11:22 am GMT
As reading is such an important skill for children to learn, it has been a subject of widespread research. Several methods exist in the teaching of reading to children. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages that have to be taken into consideration before a decision is reached on which method or methods are preferable.
One of the basic methods is the "look-and-say method" or the Whole Word method. By this method, children are taught to respond to the overall visual appearance of whole words, not to the letters of which words are composed. Children first have to learn a number of words they recognise on sight before attention is drawn to the letters itself. This method has been supported because as human tendencies are to perceive things as "wholes", children begin to learn whole words instead of parts of words, thereby making reading more meaningful to them.
On the other hand, it is uncertain whether children notice the overall composition of words without noticing at least some of the letters. If these letters are not explained soon enough, children could develop the habit of regarding words with some characteristics in common as identical.
Many centuries ago, the Alphabetic Method of teaching was popular.This involved learning the names and the order of letters in the alphabet to recognise and pronounce words. The Alphabetic Method had its hidden features, for example, "all the consonant letter names contain a phoneme with which they are often associated and the vowel letter names contain the 'long' phonemes with which they are often associated" (Roger Beard). Nevertheless, it placed a heavy load on the child's memory and was therefore substituted by the traditional or phonic method. With the Phonic Method, letters are named after their most common sound values instead of their alphabet names. Children learn to sound out and put letters together to form a word instead of spelling out their alphabetic names. This becomes their strategy for attacking new words. The advantage of the Phonic Method is that the relationship between the letter and the sound is clearly emphasised. A criticism to this method is that since the sounds are taught in isolation, rote memorisation is required and only part-learning is applied as the child does not become aware of the word as a whole.
Another method to the teaching of reading is the Phonic-word Method. In this method, children are first taught to recognise words in a 'matching word to picture-and-word' exercise and their recognition of these words is then tested by means of a 'matching word to picture (only)' exercise. After this, children start to examine sounds and letters. The advantages of this method are that children are not required to pronounce isolated sounds and build them into words, which can prove to be difficult. Also, "letter-sound relationships are learnt in the context of the words to which they apply." As the children are learning letters and sounds within known words, there is an extreme emphasis on letter-sound relationships that lead to oddly constructed sentences.
Joyce M Morris created a new linguistic-informed system for initial literacy named Phonics 44. This system discovered the number of frequency relationships between the 44 speech sounds of RP and the alphabet letters which, singularly and in combination, represent them in the English writing system. The standard English dialect is known as RP or Received Pronunciation. This method provides a dependable foundation for the development of initial literacy, especially for graded phonic instruction of the synthetic and analytic type.
The other widely used method of teaching reading is the Language Experience approach to reading. In this method, early reading material is not derived from books but from written records of children's own words.
There are many advantages to this approach, one of them being that children learn to both read and write using their own vocabulary and sentence construction. However, there are criticisms to this method, one of them being that the teachers are dependent on the children to constantly produce language.
This method also places heavy demands on the teacher's classroom organisation as they have to record the children's progress and diagnose their strengths and weaknesses.
The next approach to teaching reading is the Key Word method. This method consisted of a general word list suitable for teaching early reading. This was first developed by distinguishing between certain words that they felt were necessary in speech, reading or writing.The key words were based on research from children's books, adult books and children's speech. The frequency at which words appeared was studied and a list of 773 words was produced.
A final list was created out of which they remarked that "the first 12 words in the final frequency list made up over a quarter of all adult and children's reading matter and that the first 100 words made up over half" (Roger Beard). The main characteristic to this approach is the repetitive use of controlled vocabulary. However, critics argue that the Key Words Reading Scheme neglects fundamental patterns of language.
Other methods of teaching reading are the newer Story Approach and Individualised Reading. The Story Approach adopts a basic story method approach in combination with games, art and craft activities to help develop reading. Both the Story Method Approach and the Language Experience Approach, 'focus upon meaning, allow the inclusion of all approaches to develop word recognition and interact with the spoken language of the learner." The Individualised Reading method is explained as a 'personal reading' or 'voluntary reading' method. It requires the teacher to keep records of children's choices, interests and difficulties. This method allows the child to have one to one correspondence with the teacher. However, the teacher requires expert organisation if he/she has to meet each child's instructional needs and satisfy their interests.
It is clear that there are many different approaches to the teaching of reading. I prefer to use the Phonic Method of teaching reading with its new development "Phonics 44". This method helps children learn the 44 sounds of the English language and the rules that govern the blending of these sounds. As a result, "it provides a sound knowledge base for learning and teaching these relationships within a system of spelling pattern progression. The words in Phonics 44 are presented in an order, which is 'economical' because the facts are related to the nature of spelling, not the beliefs. It therefore saves time for both the learner and teacher. This systematic and structured method can also help children who are slow learners to master the writing system successfully. Finally, Phonics 44 allows 'initial letter recognition', enabling children to read words from beginning to end without uncertainty.
It is important for every teacher to be aware of the different methods of teaching reading that have evolved over the years. Despite Phonics 44 being the most effective method of teaching reading in my opinion, it must be recognised that other methods have also been used with some effectiveness in the past.
Monica Valrani, CEO, Ladybird Nursery & Early Learning Centre
"Dubai nursery firm merges with Europe's largest
echo $body; ?>September 22, 2017, 10:33 am
"VISS participates in early years research programme
echo $body; ?>May 16, 2017, 10:50 am
"ADEC encourages investment in private kindergartens
echo $body; ?>December 22, 2016, 1:29 pm
"Finnish curriculum kindergartens to be launched in the Middle East
echo $body; ?>October 11, 2016, 11:40 am
"Comment: Implementing 21st century skills in American curriculum schools
echo $body; ?>March 10, 2016, 5:50 am