EDU 371: Phonics Based Reading & Decoding
Instructor: Craig Smith
August 12, 2013
Learning to read is a very important skill necessary for a productive and successful life. Reading helps lead to a successful academic career. Everything we learn comes from reading. The Action Reading program focuses on a systematic phonics instruction. Comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness, and phonics are the main critical areas of effective reading instruction. When teaching Avery, the lessons from CD 1 & 2 was very interesting. Avery thought it was fun. First of all, in order for a child to learn how to read, a child must know and understand the sounds of the letters. When Avery started learning the sounds of the alphabet, she already knew them. She stated she learned this in daycare. Avery enjoyed blending sounds together to make words. Blending is defined as combining sounds together into words. The lesson taught Avery how to slide sounds together by using flash cards. Next, Avery took pictures and blended them together to make words. The lesson taught Avery how to learn the sounds of the words by looking at a picture. The song of the letter sounds fascinated Avery. I had to replay it over and over. Avery practiced the sounds over and over. Avery was eager to learn. Avery sat quietly listening about the background of our English alphabet. The alphabet is made up of twenty-six letters. The twenty-six letters are used to symbolize forty-four English speech sounds. There are seventy common spellings for these forty-four English speech sounds. In the video, the teacher pointed out pictures using the alphabet and you had to chant the sounds the picture represented. Learning the alphabet is a wonderful experience for children. Some letters can represent more than one sound. The letter A sound represents “ah”. The letter B sound represents “buh”. The letter C represents “cuh”. The letter D sound represents “duh”. Reading is a “fairly involved process that requires the ability to recognize and know the letter; the knowledge of letter sounds; and the ability to quickly connect those sounds together to form the complete word” (ReadingByPhonics, 2013). Phonemic awareness teaches students to focus on and manipulate phonemes in spoken words (NICHD, 2010). Phonemic awareness teaches the students how to associate phonemes with sounds and with words. Phonemes are the sounds that make up words. “Think of phonemes not as the sounds that letters make but as the sounds of speech that can be represented by letters” (Learning Point, 2004). For example, the word so is made up of two phonemes /s/ and /o/. Phonemes can also be represented by a cluster of letters. For example, the word bake has three phonemes /b/ /a/ /k/. Phonemic awareness helps “students learn new words; helps students make a connection between some of the letters within the word as it appears and the meaning and pronunciation; helps students make connections between the full sequence of letters and the world’s meaning and pronunciation; and students are able to use the idea that a sequence or cluster of letters can be used in many different words to represent the same series of phonemes” (Learning Point, 2004). In systematic phonics, the teacher presents a sound and gives the students examples of words in which the letter stands for the same sound (Learning Point, 2004). I feel that you should teach explicit and systematic phonics when teaching a student how to read. The systematic approach will give me a solid foundation that will help instruct Avery through the phonics program. Ms. Jeannie Eller teaches students how to decode words into simple sentences. Decoding is defined as translating a word into a sound. Being able to decode words is very important for students to read correctly. In order to pronounce words, students need to have knowledge of letter-sound relationships, and knowledge of spelling letter patterns. In order to decode words, students must have knowledge of syllables and be able to break words down in syllables. Students must be able to sound out and decode words to understand what the words mean. According to NICHD, decoding is used to “describe how the reader translates graphemes into phonemes and then blends the phonemes to form words with recognizable meanings” (NICHD, 2010). Avery learned to decode words by learning what sound goes with what letter. Ms. Eller would present the sound so Avery could hear it. Avery would say what she heard. In the lessons, once Avery learns one sound and feels comfortable then she moved on to the next sound. Ms. Eller teaches how to blend sounds to make the correct words. This helps students learn how to read accurately. The lesson taught Avery how to combine sounds together into words. Avery practiced by sounding out the words. She learned that once one sound was learned then she was taught how to blend that sound with other sounds to make words. Students are taught the function of vowels and the vowel rules. There are 19 vowel sounds from the English alphabet using 5 letters. The remaining 21 letters make up 25 consonant sounds. The 19 vowel sounds are 5 long vowels, 5 short vowels, 3 diphthongs, 1 long oo, 1 short oo, and 4 r controlled vowel sounds. A diphthong is defined as a group of two sounds will two different spellings. Short vowel sounds consists of a, e, i, o, and u. If you have two vowels together in a word, both vowels will have a different sound. The first vowel has a long sound and second vowel is silent. One way to remember is by the saying “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking”. In the lessons, Ms. Eller encourages students to use prior knowledge of what they already learned to help recognize and read new words. Repetition is very important when learning new sounds and blending sounds. Students connect prior knowledge to what is being learned. Students need to use “relevant background knowledge while they are reading to help them interpret and understand what is in the text” (Learning Point, 2004). Fluency is defined as the “ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression” (Reading Rockets, 2001). Fluency is achieved through repetition. Fluency involves grouping words into phrases so it’s easier to understand. Teachers can help improve fluency by having students’ group words into phrases. Vocabulary is used in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In order to communicate well with others, you need to know great vocabulary. The words we use when we speak, the words we hear when listening, the words we use in writing, or the words we read all consists of vocabulary. There are four types of vocabulary as followed (Learning Point, 2004): 1) Listening: words we understand when others talk to us. 2) Reading: words we know when we see them in print (sight words and words we can decode). 3) Speaking: words we use when we talk to others.
4) Writing: words we use when we write.
Vocabulary is taught directly. Students can’t comprehend what they hear and read without knowledge of what the words mean. In order to help the students understand what they learned, Ms. Eller had the students sing songs and write the words of the song down. Ms. Eller asked the students questions to see if they understood what was taught and if she kept their attention. Ms. Eller kept Avery’s attention throughout the entire lesson. Avery loves to sing songs. Singing songs helped Avery understand what she learned. Students need to “see, hear, read, and write new words repeatedly and in different contexts to learn the words completely” (Learning Point, 2004). In CD 5 & 6, Ms. Eller taught the students about vowels. Ms. Eller taught the students the difference between long vowel sounds and short vowel sounds. Knowing the vowel rules is very important. Normally, when there is only one vowel in a word and it’s not at the end of a word, it will have a short vowel sound. If there is only one vowel and it is at the end of the word, it has a long vowel sound. When there are two or more vowels and the word ends with the vowel “e”, this makes the “e” silent. The previous vowel in front of it has a long vowel sound. When you have two different vowels together in a word, the first vowel has a long sound and the second vowel is silent. When you have one vowel followed by two same consonants in a row, the vowel has a short vowel sound. When a word has two of the same vowels together, the vowels are considered as one vowel and have a long vowel sound. The only double vowel that will have a different sound is “o”. Ms. Eller taught the students the vowel sounds /aw/, /au/, /ou/, and /ow/. Avery and Dale practiced the vowel “oo” by adding the double vowels to words. Avery and Dale learned the different sounds that “y” makes. Avery and Dale learned the song “Cousin Y is Tricky and Sly”. Avery enjoyed the song and wanted to repeat it. Dale was the complete opposite. Being 14 years old, he thought the song was lame. Avery and Dale practiced a bunch of “y” words. Avery and Dale learned how an extra vowel could make a huge difference in a word. Ms. Eller showed how “men” changes into “mean” by adding a vowel. This taught them the difference that an extra vowel makes in a word. An extra vowel changes the meaning to the word. Avery and Dale created words with vowels. Avery and Dale buzz the vowels, clapped hands, touched toes, and did jumping jacks to create phonemic awareness. Avery and Dale developed vocabulary by the use playing match games where pictures represented words. The systemic and explicit instruction is used in this program. Students developed vocabulary from pictures that represented words. Every activity that is learned will expand each students reading vocabulary and comprehension to become a fluent reader. Phonic awareness: breaking apart and manipulating the sounds in words. Phonics: sounds are represented by letters of the alphabet which can then be blended together to form words. Fluency: grouping words into phrases and achieved through repetition. Vocabulary: words we hear, see, read, and write. Word recognition is very important. Comprehension: Every student needs to have an understanding of various texts. Prior knowledge, questioning, visualizing, and drawing conclusions are comprehension strategies. Learning to read is a very important skill necessary for a productive and successful life. Reading helps lead to a successful academic career. Everything we learn comes from reading. The Action Reading program focuses on a systematic phonics instruction. Comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness, and phonics are the main critical areas of effective reading instruction. . All areas of effective reading instruction have been described and what lessons Avery and Dale learned from the program.
Eller, J. (2000). Fundamentals: A research-based, phonics tutorial learn to read program. Chandler Heights, AZ: Action Reading. Learning Point Associates. (2004). A closer look at the five essential components of effective reading instruction: a review of scientifically based reading research for teachers. Retrieved July 26, 2013, from http://www.learningpt.org/pdfs/literacy/components.pdf National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2010). Put reading first: kindergarten through grade 3. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/prf_k-3/Pages/PRF-teachers-k-3.aspx Pearson Education Inc. (2000-2013). Building vocabulary. Retrieved July 24, 2013 from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/skill-builder/teaching-methods/48607.html Reading Rockets. (2013). Fluency. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://readingrockets.org/helping/target/fluency/ ReadingByPhonics. (2013). Phonics alphabet sounds. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://www.readingbyphonics.com/about-phonics/letter-names-sounds.html#.Ue3IAi0o7IV