Thursday, December 10, 2020

Putting the cart before the horse

Knowledge of sound-symbol associations is vital for success in first grade and beyond.

Good readers do not depend primarily on context to identify new words. When good readers encounter an unknown word, they decode the word, name it, and then attach meaning.

    When a good reader encounters an unknown

word the first thing he will do is to decode the word.


The context of the passage helps a reader get the meaning of a word once a word has been deciphered.

No one has ever said that meanings of words read in a passage is unimportant. However, first comes decoding and then comes meaning and understanding of what one reads.

By the end of primary two, students should be able to decode almost any unfamiliar word so that they can attend to uncovering the meaning.

Teachers will be unable to teach the relationship between speech and print skillfully if they do not understand how spelling represents sounds.

It is very apparent from the Twitter discussion where senior teachers are not even aware that letters represent more than one sound. Refer to my post here.

Of course any teacher can boast that many students in her class can read well even without being taught phonics. We all know that many children are able to read regardless of the way they are taught. What is important to note is the number of kids who are unable to read.

Teachers should be willing to keep up to date with the latest findings instead of insisting upon methods such as the three cueing system which has been discredited decades ago.

What some of these teachers appear to say is, yes teach a little phonics but don’t rely on phonics for decoding as there is the three cueing system to follow as well.

As early as January 1788 11 ships that set sail from Britain arrived safely in Sydney. So, why should we fly by aeroplane appears to be what these die-hard three cueing systems folks are saying.

“Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” John Kenneth Galbraith


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