Every now and again the media reports that Australian students are not learning to read the ‘right way’. Some ‘experts’ have their own preferred style of teaching reading (e.g. an emphasis on phonics) and do not acknowledge the benefits of ‘Whole Language’ (an emphasis on meaning and strategic actions). During Reading Recovery, and across our school, the students learn to use what they have already learnt about language through listening and speaking. They learn that the stories they hear (and write) are made up of sentences, sentences are made up of words, and words can be broken into chunks and individual letters / sounds. ‘Phonics’ (sounds within words) IS taught within Whole Language, but it is only a part of reading, not the starting point of learning to read.
The following 2 videos are from the Reading Recovery Council Of North America. They show some practices that your children experience at our school during Reading Recovery and within their classrooms.
Effective Literacy Practices – Learning About Phonology & Orthography
Teachers explore ways that children learn about relationships between letters of written language and sounds of spoken language.
Effective Literacy Practices – Making It Easy to Learn
Teachers build on a child’s strengths to create situations where the child will experience success in early literacy learning.
The main points of the videos are:
Teachers should start with what the children already know and build on those strengths.
Students enjoy a challenge that is within reach.