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Teaching Phonics Through Awareness-Raising Activities

  • Date Submitted: 11/22/2011 10:11 PM
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Teaching Phonics through Awareness-Raising Activities
Phonics is a method of teaching children to read. In English-speaking countries, it is commonly used in teaching beginning reading in the mother tongue. Children are taught to recognize the relationship between letters and sounds. They are taught the sounds which the letters of the alphabet represent, and then try to build up the sound of a new or unfamiliar word by saying it one sound at a time. In the elementary grades in these countries, phonics is taught as a means; the end is that young children will gradually begin to read books on their own.
Programme content and design
In terms of what is to be taught in a phonics programme, according to the Curriculum Guide, a unit of teaching is a letter sound. There are two main groups of letter sounds: consonants and vowels. Consonant letter sounds are made up of either a single letter, two letters occurring together to produce a consonant cluster (called “blends’), or two 2letters combining to produce one consonant sound (called “diagraphs”). Vowel letter sounds include short vowels and long vowels.  
Methodology for phonics instruction
How, then, should phonics be taught in class lessons? “Learners need to be helped to develop an awareness of the letter-sound relationships in English words through explicit teaching at any early stage of learning”. In other words, learners should be guided to learn to specific sounds that each letter or letter combination represents. so that young learners will “retain what they have learnt and transfer the knowledge and skills in new situation”. But what does contextualized phonics learning and teaching mean? The Curriculum Guide offers the following example.   When the teacher takes through students through a big book story in a shared reading lesson, she can guide them to apply their previous phonics knowledge and skills to sound out similar but new words in the story text. They can also learn one or two new letter sounds...

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