What is the best way to teach a child to read?
Whether you are homeschooling or helping your child get ahead in school, what is useful in teaching reading? Which approach is best - phonics or whole language?
Start with phonics. My mother was an English teacher and taught all five of her kids how to read at a young age. I learned to read proficiently at three and I remember her starting with phonics cards. I learned all the different sounds letters make and then when I started reading in basic books, I was actually sounding out the words and capable of learning new words on my own instead of just memorizing basic words and building from there. It was a much more comprehensive foundation and I enjoyed reading a lot more when I could sound out words successfully instead of just skipping over them.
When I started Kindergarten at four, I was ahead of the rest of the class by leaps and bounds. Phonics is the way to go.
I certainly agree with Shanna11 that the phonics approach has much to merit it. That said, if such an approach is not practical or achievable as it might not be for some parents some advocates do suggest that simply reading to the child as much as possible can be effective as well, rather than trying to "teach" them words to memorize in any strict sense (something which the phonics approach also avoids). My daughter did pretty well with this as a three year old last year, and now she's got a good and growing proficiency having just turned four. That was my basis as well some forty years ago and by the time I got to kindergarten, like Shanna11, I was a mile ahead too. Wonder how much further I might have got with phonics!
The brain learns by "chunking". It can hold 7, plus or minus 2 bits of information at a time. Use these two bits of psychology to teach first letters, then words, then sentences.
I made it into a hub:
http://manfrommodesto.hubpages.com/hub/ … ild-2-Read
The answer is "yes." Studies in the Kansas City area have proven nearly definitively that a combination of both phonics and whole language aids children in learning far better than either method alone. These studies were a part of the preparation for the Between the Lion series on PBS. The pilot study was done in Kansas City, Kansas were the widest variety of race and ethnicities of any urban US area is found. Children of all backgrounds improved their reading scores radically as compared to the control group. Now that the series is available, I strongly recommend that parents of children between 3 and 7 years old incorporate Between the Lions as a part of their reading education.
1. Find a text called "The writing road to reading." http://www.spalding.org/ This is a phonetic approach. Try amazon - there are several additions available.
2. Read stories to your child regularly. At some point, they will pick up the book after you leave and continue on their own.
3. Repeat 3. (i.e. don't stop reading to them).
4. Apply no pressure. It will happen when they are ready and don't fret or compare with other children.
Read to them. Point out words to show them what they look like. I am not sure how old of a child we are speaking of here, but I started reading to my son when he was just an infant. I read to him all the time, and by 2, he could read some words on his own. By 4 he was way ahead of his kindergarten age friends. Then again, he loved words. He still does.
Be sure to teach phonics. It's not taught in schools much anymore, and it is a key ingredient to sounding out words later in school...and in life.
As a voracious reader as well as a writer, I would suggest the method I used to teach myself to read when I was 4 years old. Comic Books. I would screen the comics that I used, but the combination of the pictures and words will help cement the meaning of the words. Used in addition with other strategies such as phonics and guided reading lessons this would be an ideal tool.
I found a book that answers this question wonderfully. Mem Fox's Reading Magic (2001) talks about the "dos and don'ts" of teaching a child to read. She gives not only advice about how to teach young children how to read but also methods to employ that are most effective. As an elementary teacher, I use Fox's books and website (http://www.memfox.com/welcome.html) to supplement my district's approach to teaching reading.
My mother starting reading to me as soon as I was born. She upped the level of the material as the years went on. By the time I was about 8, she was reading Harry Potter and Lord Of the Rings to me and I could understand it. Of course, she interpreted big words for me, but it helped me in the long run. I have always been an advanced reader due to all the reading my mother and I did together when I was younger, whether it was the Berenstein Bears or Nancy Drew, we read every single evening before I went to bed. This tradition still remains with me, I read to go to sleep. Schools now days do not teach as well as they should, and they students that are above their other peers are those that have parents who take the time to teach them things on their own. If it wasn't for my mom, I never would have been advanced in classes.
I would say phonics but it's all in the teaching, not necessarily the method adopted. Not all children respond in the same way to a particular approach. Phonics works if it truly presents the grapheme/phoneme correspondence of text. For example: catch - c + a + tch (not t + c + h); 'a' on its own could be a short or long vowel (that is the 'a' in cat or the 'a' in same), depending on what follows, a /k/ sound can be a 'c' or a 'k'. It's very important to show anyone learning to read that there are possibilities to choose from and not rigid rules because there is always an exception to the rule!
Any good program created for dyslexics is usually brilliant for any readers. Also, as others have pointed out, reading to and with your child is very important; it's known that children from families who have lots of books around are more likely to be better readers.
Absolutely the best way to help your child get ahead in school is to nightly or regularly snuggle up with the child and read to them. The close proximity of the parent, guardian or other caregiver coupled with his or her favorite soft toy in their hand, a cookie or other snack cause a chemical release of endorphins in the brain. The child will associate reading with feelings of comfort and love which in turn will cause the child to "love" reading.
After that, you can choose the approach that best fits your style... I am partial to phonics
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