Saturday, January 13, 2024

Musings of a centrist by Dr. Sam Bommarito - Part 2


Here is another extract from Dr. Sam’s post:

There is more than one way to teach phonics. I’ve written about that point many times.

Some students NEED a synthetic phonics approach. This is especially true for dyslexic students. The key place where folks working under the balanced literacy umbrella went off the tracks was their failure to ensure dyslexic students got the synthetic phonics they needed. In some instances, that involved giving them little or no phonics. In other cases, that involved giving them the wrong kind of phonics. The wrong kind of phonics for them is phonics taught using inquiry methods- analytic phonics being the best example of that kind of approach.

The main point I want to make again today is that it is time to try something we’ve never tried in the whole history of the reading wars. That is to adopt a centrist position, using ideas from all sides.

My comment:

When I went to school in the 50’s there was only one way to teach the sounds of the letters and then blending the letter sounds to form words.

Anyway, here are the four major types of phonics I copied from this site. LINK

There are four major types of phonics:

Synthetic phonics, Analogy phonics, Analytic phonics, Embedded phonics

1. Synthetic Phonics

Focuses on explicit instruction of phonemes and blending them to construct words. It is the most direct and structured method of phonics.

Synthetic phonics starts with teaching phonemes and then progresses to teaching full words.

As children progress, educators focus on blending phonemes to build words. As students become more competent with each phoneme, the teacher creates structured lessons that involve blending phonemes to create full words.

My comment:

For example, if students know the basic single-letter phonemes (a, b, c, d, e, etc.) they can start blending them to form words like cat, mat, fat, hat, sat. Refer to the sample lesson in my book. LINK

For synthetic phonics to work for every child, we must teach them the correct pronunciation of letters. When consonants are taught with extraneous sounds children predisposed to shutting down will disengage from learning to read.

2. Analytic phonics starts with familiar words that students have learned by rote. Lessons then involve having the students decode and break down those words into their phonemes. Usually, the words that are analyzed have a beginning phoneme (onset) and an ending phoneme (rime).

My comment:

I get all my students to memorise the 220 Dolch words which are also called high-frequency words. The mind naturally works out the phonemes as they progress with their reading using the memorised Dolch words and the letter sounds and word families they have learned.

3. Analogy Phonics

An approach to phonics that relies on using groups of analogous (similar) words to build a child’s reading vocabulary.

Analogy phonics is in reality just a form of analytic phonics. They both focus on whole words and deconstruct them into their phoneme/grapheme parts.

What sets analogy phonics apart is that it attempts to build a child’s vocabulary of known words by introducing analogous (similar) words. For example, a child knows the word ‘sing’ so you can by extension teach them the word ‘ring’.

My comment:

This is exactly what I do in the lessons in my book Teach Your Child to Read.

I teach word families and focus on words within that word family – trying to build up that word family with as many words as possible. You will note this right from lesson 1 in my book which expands on the word family ‘at’.

I start with synthetic phonics and word family and introduce other methods (analytic, analogy and embedded) phonics as well as context clues after the basics have been learned.

4. Embedded phonics

In this approach, students learn vocabulary through explicit instruction on the letter-sound relationships during the reading of connected text.

My comment:

I teach them to do this when students struggle to read unfamiliar words.

Synthetic phonics is invaluable in teaching students how to read and is unparalleled in its ability to teach the various explicit phonemes.

Memorising Dolch Words is one technique that would eventually transfer knowledge into long-term memory. I recommend memorising the Dolch words as they comprise between 50 to 70 % of the words in a book.

I have incorporated everything that P.D. Pearson suggested in his podcast with Dr. Sam.

No comments: