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Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

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  1. Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

  2. BackgroundPhonics • 500 years ago, Martin Luther and his followers invented Phonics. • For 200 Years the phonics system of learning remained basically unchanged, constant repetition of alphabetic code training, syllable memorization, and finally decoding words by “sounding them out”.

  3. More Background • In the 19th Century several developments occurred in the way phonics were taught that changed the system forever. Additionally, several new forms of literacy training arrived on the scene. • McGuffey’s Eclectic Reader for Young Children produced phonics-work for schools and parents from the 1830’s to the 1920s. What made these books important was that they contained a modified “phonic” alphabet that included all of the digraphs.

  4. Still More • In the 1840s the Oswego method of learning was developed. The Oswego method did away with boring, repetitive phonics drills altogether and instead focused on stories for phonetic learning. • Later, in the 1880s, a man named F.W. Parker devised a system where children did away with phonics learning altogether. Parker’s belief was that “reading is thinking”, and developed a system where children learned how to read and write by writing their own books. Some people believe that this formula would prove to be the grandfather of Whole Word Learning, the arch-enemy of the phonic system of learning.

  5. Phonic Methods • Synthetic Phonics-synthetic phonics is nothing more, or less, than a simple step-by-step (i.e., systematic) way of teaching reading and writing. ( • Systematic Phonics-Systematic programs teach the skills and sounds in a deliberate planned sequence. The better programs start with the simple and build on this until the complete phonetic code has been taught. • Explicit Phonics-In an explicit (synthetic) program, students will learn the associations between the letters and their sounds In an explicit program, the processes of blending and segmenting are also taught.

  6. Phonics Instructional Approaches • Analogy Phonics—Teaching students unfamiliar words by analogy to known words (e.g., recognizing that the rime segment of an unfamiliar word is identical to that of a familiar word, and then blending the known rime with the new word onset, such as reading brick by recognizing that -ick is contained in the known word kick, or reading stump by analogy to jump). • Analytic Phonics—Teaching students to analyze lettersound relations in previously learned words to avoid pronouncing sounds in isolation. • Embedded Phonics—Teaching students phonics skills by embedding phonics instruction in text reading, a more implicit approach that relies to some extent on incidental learning. • Phonics through Spelling—Teaching students to segment words into phonemes and to select letters for those phonemes (i.e., teaching students to spell words phonemically).

  7. Phonemic Awareness • Researchers have determined that phonemic awareness is important because it requires readers to become aware of the sounds that letters represent and helps beginning readers better identify with the alphabet. The English alphabet consists of 26 letters, but there are well over 26 sounds in the English language, each represented in print by a single letter or group of letters. Phonemic awareness is the auditory process of identifying the sounds so that later, the printed letters can be matched up with their proper sounds.

  8. BackgroundPhonemic Awareness • DescriptionPhonemic awareness is the ability to distinguish the sounds, or phonemes, in spoken language as they relate to the written language. Phonemic awareness is not the same thing as phonics, but rather a precursor to understanding phonics, which is like a code for learning to sound out written words. Phonemic awareness is considered extremely important in the early stages of literacy and has been studied closely as it applies to early childhood education and the development of literacy skills.

  9. Various concerns • First, correlational studies have identified PA and letter knowledge as the two best school-entry predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first 2 years of instruction. Such evidence suggests the potential importance of PA training in the development of reading skills. • Second, many experimental studies have been carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of PA training in facilitating reading acquisition. • Third, there is currently much interest in PA training programs among teachers, principals, parents, and publishers because of claims about their value in improving children’s ability to learn to read.

  10. More Concerns • Excessive phonics drills can be drudgery and destroy a desire to read. • whole language methods produce more positive attitudes and may better "enable students to sustain an interest in reading though the upper grades." • At risk students require careful systematic instruction in individual letter-sound correspondences, and developing them requires teachers to explicitly isolate the phoneme from the word (This letter says "mmm").

  11. More • At-risk students also need ample practice of these sounds in isolation from stories if they are to build a memory of each sound-symbol relationship. • It is necessary to teach at least 40-50 such associations, and to provide stories in which these associations ar • It's not clear what is the optimum number of letter-sound correspondences necessary in a teaching program to enable all children to develop the alphabetic principle. • Does one need to teach all the possible combinations? • what is the minimum number of taught correspondences that will induce in children generalization to untaught combinations? • Do all children need to be taught the same size group of correspondences? Not only is there concern about which correspondences should be included, but also • in what order should they occur? • At what rate should they be introduced? • What level of student mastery should be expected? • What proportion of allocated time should be employed in teacher-led instruction, reading words in isolation, words in context, writing,e

  12. Current Thinking • Overall, the findings showed that teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective under a variety of teaching conditions with a variety of learners across a range of grade and age levels and that teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading more than instruction that lacks any attention to PA. • Specifically, the results of the experimental studies led the Panel to conclude that PA training was the cause of improvement in students’ phonemic awareness, reading, and spelling following training. The findings were replicated repeatedly across multiple experiments and thus provide converging evidence for causal claims. While PA training exerted strong and significant effects on reading and spelling development, it did not have an impact on children’s performance on math tests. This indicates that halo/Hawthorne (novelty) effects did not explain the findings and that indeed the training effects were directly connected with and limited to the targeted domain under study. Importantly, the effects of PA instruction on reading lasted well beyond the end of training. Children of varying abilities improved their PA and their reading skills as a function of PA training. • PA instruction also helped normally achieving children learn to spell, and the effects lasted well beyond the end of training. However, the instruction was not effective for improving spelling in disabled readers. This is consistent with other research showing that disabled readers have difficulty learning how to spell.

  13. Personal Concerns • Flooding children with an uncontrolled array of words does no favours for struggling students; it forces them to guess from context (a strategy promoted by their whole language teachers). Even good readers find that contextual guessing is accurate on only one occasion for every four times it is attempted. Guessing is a hallmark of poor readers - good readers abandon it as moribund. The end result is that struggling students are burdened with a limp strategy - one that fails them regularly when they most need it.

  14. Personal Concerns • Children who have difficulty with phonological awareness will often be unable to recognize or isolate the individual sounds in a word, recognize similarities between words (as in rhyming words), or be able to identify the number of sounds in a word. These deficits can affect all areas of language including reading, writing, and understanding of spoken language ie. auditory discrimination, dysphonic, ect… • Auditory discrimination is the ability to recognize differences in phonemes (sounds). This includes the ability to identify words and sounds that are similar and those which are different. •

  15. Web •