Thursday, May 21, 2020

Definition of grapheme and phoneme

I believe I now know why I have been getting lukewarm reception of educators in the US, the UK and Australia. I believe most of them do not understand what I mean when I say that the pronunciation of phonemes of consonants is not taught correctly.

  You cannot teach phonics of any kind if the pronunciation of phonemes is taught wrongly. 

Sound symbol skills + Oral blending ability = Basic phonics skills.

As such, how can one teach phonics when children have been taught the sound symbol skills wrongly?

Here is a Twitter discussion with Dr.David Dzyngier of Australia yesterday which is self explanatory. 

Dr David Zyngier @dzyngier · May 17
Replying to @luqmanmichel @steven_kolber and @EduTweetOz

Only some students have problems learning to read.  Let's not generalise.

Luqman Michel

Dr. A majority have a problem learning to read. Fortunately, many of them learn to read via analysis leaving behind about 20% who disengage from learning to read.
Read my post here of a student in Australia reading the phonemes represented by letters wrongly. 

Eliminate the necessity to figure out how to read.

Dr David Zyngier Replying to @luqmanmichel

Michel I watched the videos. I think you are confusing grapheme & phoneme. My understanding is that the letters of the alphabet have NO sound only names. Correct me if I'm wrong @NarelleLynch1
Luqman Michel

Dr.  Phonemes can be put together to make words. Grapheme - A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough. Dictionary definition.

Dr David Zyngier @luqmanmichel and  @NarelleLynch1

So why is the student attributing sounds (phonemes) to a lettering letter (grapheme)? Again my understanding is that the letters of the alphabet have NO sound only names.

Luqman Michel Replying to @dzyngier and @NarelleLynch1

She and many others were asked to sound out the sounds represented by each of the letters.
This is how it is taught in many schools and confuse kids.
Each letter has a name as well as a phoneme. She had read the letter names correctly. All kids can read letter names correctly.

Luqman Michel Replying to @dzyngier and @NarelleLynch1

I believe your understanding "Again my understanding is that the letters of the alphabet have NO sound only names." is incorrect. 

A grapheme is a written symbol that represents a sound (phoneme). This can be a single letter or could be a sequence of letters.

When a child says the sound /t/ this is a phoneme, but when they write the letter 't' this is a grapheme.

When you teach the sound/t/ with an extraneous sound it confuses many kids who then disengage from learning to read. 1/x

Fortunately, like the student in the video, may kids figure out how to read but in the process, they waste an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to connect the sounds taught wrongly to the words taught.  2/x


i.                     We can eliminate the need for figuring out how to read if we teach the correct pronunciation of the phonemes of consonants right from the onset. The video of the university student is just one of many such videos which shows that kids somehow analyse how to read despite being taught the wrong pronunciation of phonemes.

ii.                   Approximately 20% of the kids around the world are unable to connect the phonemes that are taught wrongly to the words taught and therefore disengage from learning to read. These are the kids who are then wrongly classified as dyslexic.

iii.                 Letter names carry a sound too and we use these sounds of the letter names to read many words such as bee, deep, giraffe, Jay, Kate, Pea, etc.

iv.                 Sound Symbol Skills + Oral Blending Skills = Basic Phonics Skills. How do we teach phonics if the sound symbol skills are taught wrongly?

1 comment:

Luqman Michel said...

Here is an article I was referred to this morning by a person on Twitter.

“If children are struggling, even if they’re receiving phonics instruction, perhaps it’s because of the way they are being asked to focus their attention on the sounds within spoken words and links between those sounds and the letters within visual words,” he said.

“We can direct attention to a larger grain size or a smaller grain size, and it can have a big impact on how well you learn.”

The above was written by a Stanford Professor Bruce McCandliss. He too does not understand why some students receiving phonics instructions are struggling.

In fact, no professor has figured out why phonics instruction is not working as well as it should.

I hope researchers will keep an open mind and get teachers to teach the correct pronunciation of phonemes.