Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Say NO to Word Rhyme Phonics

The 'at' word rhyme/family:

/c/ (kuh), /at/ (at) ... /c
/b/ (buh), /at/ (at) ... /b
/m/ (mm), /at/ (at) ... /m
/s/ (ss), /at/ (at) ... /s

First, children are taught letter sounds, c - kuh, b - buh, d - duh, ...

Then they memorize 'word rhymes or families' such as '
at', 'it', 'op', ... as one sound.

When it comes to reading a word such as 'cat', they are taught to blend :
/c/ (kuh), /at/ (at), /cat/, and other words ending with ''
at'(eg. sat, pat, mat).
The word ending '
at' is taught as ONE sound.

At a glance, it looks quite simple & easy for children to follow.

However, it is a wrong method.
The rhymes
'at', 'it', 'op' are NOT ONE sound. They are made up of TWO sounds.

at'.... /a/ + /t/
it'... /i/ + /t/
op' .../o/ + /p/

Do you know that there are 1260 possible rhyming endings in English? It is close to impossible to teach ALL these rhymes. Many end up just teaching a fraction of them, inevitably leading to Reading Failure.

Moreover, some also teach consonant clusters or blends as ONE sound:
'br', 'cl', 'st', 'nd', 'mp', 'nk',..., when actually they are made up of TWO sounds.

Do you know that there are 76 consonant clusters in English? And do you know that many common phonics programmes teach these clusters as if they are 76 new sounds?!

If you choose to teach your child to read using the Word Rhyme Phonics, you will be teaching them to memorize 1260 endings + 76 consonant clusters + 44 phonemes). Thus, you will be wasting your child's precious visual memory on redundant information.

We should actually teach them the smallest speech sounds(phonemes). In English, there are 44 phonemes and that's about all you should teach. Why should we teach more than that? Why should we teach hundreds of ending rhymes?

As Professor Diane McGuiness wrote in her book, 'Why Our Children Can't Read?', "No reading method should ever teach children to read whole words, syllables or syllable parts like rhymes."

So say NO to Word Rhyme Phonics. And sat YES to Readeasy Phonics, a simple step-by-step way of teaching reading & writing.

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