Learning to UseAlphabetic Writing Conference on Writing DevelopmentJuly 2, 2009 Charles Read University of Wisconsin - Madison
Initial Steps • Knowing that symbols represent an utterance, such as a word or sentence. • [Scribble] “says ‘Let’s go.’”
Initial Steps • Knowing that symbols represent an utterance, such as a word or sentence. • Recognize or manipulate conventional symbols, such as letters.
Initial Steps • Knowing that symbols represent an utterance, such as a word or sentence. • Recognize or manipulate conventional symbols, such as letters. • Associate letter(s) with word(s). • “M is for Max.”
Key Steps (1) • Acquiring phonemic awareness • The concept of sounds within syllables. • Not all are pronounceable in isolation • Those that are pronounceable don’t sound like language.
Signs of Phonemic Awareness • Pronounce or name individual sounds, such as “first sound” in a word. • Manipulate sounds: • Add, delete, move sounds within a syllable
Key Steps (2) • Knowing that spellings (one or more letters each) represent those sounds. • The Alphabetic Principle • Not just “M is for Max,” but “M is for [m]”
Phonemic Awareness and the Alphabetic Principle [PA and AP] are BIG STEPS.
Phonemic Awareness • May not develop outside of instruction in alphabetic writing. • Morais, et al.: studies in Portugal: • Illiterates can detect sound similarity (e.g., rhyme), but cannot analyze a syllable into its phonemes (e.g., delete an initial sound).
Syntheses of Research • Snow, Burns, and Griffin (1998) Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. National Academy Press. • http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6023 • Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read. (2000). National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. • http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications
Both conclude PA is essential • Snow et al.: • [PA is] “key to understanding the logic of the alphabetic principle and thus to the learnability of phonics and spelling.” (p. 52) • National Reading Panel: • “Teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective across all the literary domains and outcomes.” (pp. 2-3)
YUTS A LADE YET FEHEG AND HE KOT FLEPR • Carol Chomsky, 1979. “Approaching Reading Through Invented Spelling”
YUTS ALADE YET FEHEG AND HE KOTFLEPR Some of the standard spellings
YUTS A LADE YET FEHEG AND HE KOT FLEPR Not standard, but phonetically accurate
YUTS A LADE YET FEHEG AND HE KOT FLEPR A letter-name spelling.
YUTS A LADE YET FEHEG AND HE KOT FLEPR Another letter-name spelling?
YUTS A LADE YET FEHEG AND HE KOT FLEPR E spells /ɪ/ as well as /i/.
Application to Instruction • Are there stages in initial writing development? • Are there best practices in initial instruction?
What have we learned? • PA and AP are necessary steps, difficult for some learners, but can be taught. • Learning standard correspondences and ‘rules’ is significant in English but not so conceptually challenging as PA. • Initial learning is a creative cognitive process, not merely memorization of sound- spelling correspondences.