Did you know learning to read involves decoding and comprehension?
- Decoding – translating the print into sounds and words.
- Comprehension – understanding the meaning of what is being read.
- Be able to decode print.
- Devote attention to comprehension.
Beginning readers often put so much effort into decoding that it reduces their comprehension.
There are two main approaches to early reading instruction.
- PHONICS emphasizes decoding where children might be taught to look for sound patterns and to sound out words. Children are taught to recognize speech sounds, called phonemes, alone and in combination. This is called PHONEMIC AWARENESS.
- The other approach is WHOLE LANGUAGE LEARNING, emphasizes the teaching of reading in a meaningful context. The children might be taught to memorize a few familiar words, called SIGHT WORDS, so that they can quickly learn to read familiar texts. There is less emphasis on learning to decode unfamiliar words.
Children need BOTH a phonics approach AND a whole language approach that incorporates phonemic awareness and learning basic sight words. Developing phonemic awareness is critical to reading difficult words. Breaking down difficult words into sounds can help your child identify new words. New words eventually become new sight words for your child.
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Tips for Parents to help motivate with phonics, phonemic awareness and whole language reading in the HOME.
- Help your child learn word lists for their grade and the letters and sounds in each word.
- Attend to spelling; use phonics and phonemic awareness knowledge and skills, the meaning and function of words in context, and spelling generalizations to spell with accuracy.
- Have them spell the words on their word list for you.
- Play word games – challenge your child to explain the meaning of a word.
- Have a word of the day. Extend the word choice through knowledge of synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.
- Experiment with words, phrases and sentences. Enhance the clarity and artistry of communication.
- Encourage your child to write a story using their word lists; have them read you their story and ask them questions about the story.
- Review and proofread their story and help your child edit their work.
- Take your child to the library OFTEN and share your love of literacy with your child.
- Read to your child and have them read to you.
Parents can ensure that significant literacy learning is included in day-to-day activities, daily routines, and playtime and family time experiences. In so doing, parents create an effective environment to support their child’s learning and success in literacy, spelling, reading and writing.