Do you remember how you began to read? Were you ever told to sound it out? If so, you were taught by using the phonic approach. There are many different approaches to reading, along with much controversy over these approaches. Teaching children how to read through phonics is one way, and the only way that seems to make all the progress. "The phonic approach is the teaching of reading that stresses sound-symbol relationships"(Ekwall 479).
The history of phonics, and learning to read using letters is probably as old as our alphabet. Evidence dates back to ancient Greece. Plato quoted Socrates about learning to read describing phonetic instruction, along with a chart of letter sounds. Our assumptions of how children learned to read changed over centuries. In the late 1700's a German educator, Frederick Gedlike argued children should be taught whole words, rather than words in parts. This emphasized the idea children would learn with whole ideas, instead of fragments. This became known as the whole word approach. In the 1940's Edward Dolch published a list of the most common words, these would be known as sight words. Millions of children were taught to read sight word stories such as, See spot go. Go spot, Go. The story line was in the picture; if you saw the picture you recognized the words. Then, in 1955 Rudolph Flesch wrote, "Why Johnny Can't Read." He blamed lack of literacy on lack of phonic instruction. Flesch showed, a child with a phonic background, could recognize unfamiliar words. He concluded, as children learned the parts of the whole, the whole will follow. After, textbooks consisted of whole word techniques, but now there were the phonic workbooks. In 1960 Noam Chomsky, and Roger Brown pointed out that pronouncing a word does not necessarily mean a child understands what they are reading. This new view was called the Transactional Model, and comprehension along with phonics was added to the reading process (Moustafa 1-7)....
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