What New Parents Should Know When Teaching Children to Write and Read
At some point while they raise their children, every parent frets over their child’s education. Out of concern, many of them look for reliable information on teaching their children how to read and to write. It is encouraging to see so many parents eager to give their children a head start in reading and writing, especially since studies have proven that developing these skills even before a child enters school leads to increased performance throughout the child’s schooling.
What is worrying is that, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP,) 38% of all students in the fourth grade cannot even read at a basic level. No parent wants their child to become part of this alarming statistic.
The good news is that most children can avoid this problem if they are given early instruction in phonemic awareness.
Reading is something that has to start at an early age, even if it is just recognizing letters. This recognition will eventually lead to reading words, sentences, paragraphs and finally, whole stories. From a young age, children should already be exposed to books and stories and they should be read to everyday. Even at the age of 2, children can already read if they are properly taught.
Almost a century ago, Lida Williams said that phonics is not merely a method to teach reading. It is an essential and indispensible part of every good method that teaches read. It is the primary means of achieving word mastery, and it is this mastery that enables one to read.
The knowledge of letter sounds and the effect of letter positions in words upon the sounds, is the key to understanding the mechanics of reading, in order to make children independent readers.
Now, a century later, this statement is just as true. It has been fiercely debated on which method is better at teaching children to read: the whole language method or the phonic method. Whole language learning involves “word memorization” where a child memorizes a word according to the way it looks in order to be able to read or say it.
Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are two terms that must be distinguished from one another. Phonological awareness is the broader term, while phonemic awareness is a sub-category under it. As the narrower term, phonemic awareness is focused on the individual sounds made by letters, or phonemes.
Multiple studies have shown time and again that teaching this to young children results in exceptional performance in both reading and spelling. You can read more about research on phonemic awareness here.
While the whole language method expects children to “read” through the recognition of previously memorized sight words. On the other hand, the phonics method begins with the most basic units of language and builds upon it, teaching a child to read using a sequential and logical system.
First, the children are taught the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they represent. Then the children are taught to combine these sounds in order to form words. From reading individual words, the children then progress to sentences, then paragraphs, then whole stories.
This progression is a logical, step-by-step method that helps them accurately decode and pronounce words. Another benefit of this method is that it helps improve a child’s spelling skills.
Undoubtedly, phonics is the superior method in teaching children to read. It has been successful at teaching children as young as 2 years to read words and even simple story books.
How To Teach Your Child To Write
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