Blog about Phonics Instruction
Letters, and consequently words, are coded hence an understanding of the letter-sounds relationship (which is taught through phonics instruction) enables the child to read correctly. In this post, I explore various aspects of phonics. Reading Words: How does it happen? Reading is an important process in any child's life. Reading requires the child to challenge his or her mind. It is an important aspect of mental exercise. This is achieved where the reader pronounces each letter individually before eventually combining them together (Gunning, 2013). For instance, if the reader wants to read the word bat, he/she will single out each letter. As such, the student will read it as /b/ +/a/ + /t/. The third way in which a person can read is by grouping sounds together to form a word (Gunning, 2013).
This is also known as chunking them together. The basic idea behind Ehri’ model is that children’s reading development occurs through defined stages. In the pre-alphabetic stage, as the name suggests, refers to the stage where children are able to read without prior alphabetic knowledge (Gunning, 2013). Interestingly, the child is able to read the word by associating or relating it to some symbol. For instance, a child is able to read the word Toys"R" Us not because they can recognize the letters, but because they are familiar with the logo. The second stage, the partial alphabetic stage is also called the phonetic cue reading (Beech, 2005). Given the delicate nature of the teaching phonics, it is important to understand the principles which govern the process.
The most basic principle of phonics instruction is the skills taught should enable the student to decode words (Gunning, 2013). According to Gunning (2013), it is unnecessary to teach students useless skills such as determining silent letters in a word. Secondly, the phonics instruction should impart knowledge that is new to the student (Gunning, 2013). Lastly, the phonics instruction given should be relevant in the sense that it teaches reading skills related to a reading activity that the children are either involved in or will soon be involved in (Gunning, 2013). In vowels, each sound has various spellings such that a vowel sound can have at least four different spellings. A sound that precedes a vowel sound that is, the consonant, is referred to as the onset whereas the vowel sound is referred to as the rime (Gunning, 2013).
Different approaches to teaching phonics A child’s ability to read; how well a child can read, is determined by the manner in which phonics is taught. As such, it is important that phonics is taught well. A person who intends to teach phonics can adopt one of the two possible approaches; the analytical approach or the synthetic approach (Gunning, 2013). Lesson materials; Letter n mini-charts, Noisy Nora, by Rosemary Wells (1973), everyday items with the letter n, such as napkins, nick-knacks, neckties and so on. Procedure • Phonemic awareness; introduction of the sound and the letter thus drawing the letter-sound relationship. Reading of the Noisy Nora book. • Letter-sound integration • Guided Practice; students get an opportunity to interact with the everyday items beginning with the letter n.
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