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What exactly is Phonics? What is the significance of this?

Educators frequently state, “What children can say today is the foundation for what they will be able to read and write in the future.” However, this tells half the tale. Children must learn to put the words they see in a text into sounds and make sense of them to read English correctly. Because English employs letters in the alphabet to represent sounds, youngsters must learn letter-sound correlations. This information is taught in Phonics to help youngsters learn to read. Children learn the sounds that each letter makes and how the order of letters affects the meaning of a word.

What should teachers do while planning a phonics lesson for preschoolers?

As previously said, phonics and vocabulary training should be interwoven because the ultimate goal is to assist youngsters in making sense of what they have sounded out of a text. This can be accomplished by employing multisensory games and stories to introduce words (e.g., cat, hat, rat, fat). The stories assist children in grasping how the words are employed. At the same time, the vocabulary gives context for highlighting the target letter-sound relationships (the words in the previous example all have the rhyme family ‘at’). Teachers should then encourage students to say the desired words out loud. The words can be embedded in chants, nursery rhymes, or games to accomplish this. Once the children can say the entire words, utilize activities to teach phonological awareness by drawing their attention to the sound units within words (e.g., syllables, onsets, rhymes, phonemes) and encouraging them to manipulate these sound units (e.g., blending and segmenting).

Parents who do not speak English as their first language

Parents who are not native English speakers may be anxious about their children’s pronunciation skills being influenced by their English. Children’s English pronunciation can improve if they have regular access to various speakers (even through videos). Parents might encourage their children to listen to and sing along to nursery rhyme recordings. Singing allows children to work on their articulators (speech organs) and compare their word articulation to a suitable model. Another technique is for parents to use their mobile phones to look up the English translation of words from their first language, play the pronunciation, and ask their children to repeat the words back to them. Parents may ask if their children are disadvantaged compared to monolingual English-speaking youngsters because their native tongue does not use the Latin alphabet. This anxiety is unfounded because no child can read independently in the early years; all children must learn the Latin alphabet from the start.

Teachers should alter the types of phonological awareness activities based on the students’ ages.

Teachers can count the number of syllables within the target words with three-year-old children (e.g., clapping hands twice for the word Carol to indicate that this word has two syllables). Teachers might focus on rhyming families and onsets inside words with four-year-olds. Teachers can say things like “cat, c-at, cat” to emphasize the onset c and rhyme “at” in the word “cat,” then encourage kids to blend the onset c and verse “at” to make the word “cat.” Teachers can use visual cues to instruct five-year-olds how to break a word down into its beginning and rhyme (e.g., cat = c +). Associating sounds with letters will be much easier for children with this foundation of phonological awareness.

Is it possible to integrate Phonics as a tiny component of each lesson?

Because practice makes perfect, a teacher who can incorporate Phonics into every English lesson is ideal. Teachers can help by encouraging students to apply what they’ve learned about Phonics to words they meet in books and nursery rhymes. For example, in a narrative session, teachers can count the number of syllables in target words with the children and urge them to consider whether the basic terms contain onsets, rhyme families, or letters that they have already learned.

What can parents do to help their children learn to read and write?

The involvement of parents in their children’s reading development is critical. It is beneficial if parents use the terms their children have learned at school in their regular interactions. It also helps if parents read stories to their children that they have heard at school. Asking questions such as, ‘What is the first letter in this word?’ can help parents reinforce their children’s awareness of letter-sound relationships. What kind of noise does it make? What is the word’s final letter? ‘Can you tell me what sound it makes?’ Children who learn English as a second or additional language, on the other hand, have a substantially limited speech vocabulary. When they try to sound out a word, they may not understand what they have just said. For these youngsters, a substantial focus on language education is essential.

Assisting young students who are having trouble learning to read

Suppose a youngster is having trouble learning to read. In that case, it’s crucial to figure out whether the problem is due to a lack of oral vocabulary (the child can’t understand what they’ve sounded out) or a lack of grasp of the letter-sound relationships in English (the child cannot sound out a word). If the former is the case, instructors and parents should introduce words through stories or informational texts and discuss their meanings and applications. If the latter is the case, Phonics will be the answer. We recommend obtaining help from specialists if they do not react to any of these strategies and continuously perform below their classmates.

Phonics’ Limitations

While Phonics can assist youngsters in learning to sound out both known and unfamiliar words in texts, it is not without flaws. Many high-frequency words in English are irregular. The term ‘one does not begin with the letter ‘w,’ but it does begin with the sound /w/. Even though the word ‘of’ finishes with the letter ‘f,’ the final sound is /v/. Because of these anomalies, children will need to rote-learn the pronunciation of numerous words even after learning Phonics. However, predicting the pronunciation of many words using letter-sound knowledge is still preferable to having to rote-learn the pronunciation of all words in a tetra gram.

Oak Groves

Author Oak Groves

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