Saturday, December 11, 2010

Learning To Read = Learning To Drive

I can still remember waiting for my driving instructor everyday, eagerly, during the school hols after my SPM.(1980). I can still remember I had to learn from A to Z about driving - from holding (& also turning) the steering; to putting the car into first gear and letting the clutch pedal go slowly while pressing down the gas pedal(Ayo don't ask me how many times my car mati at roundabouts :p). I practised all these small steps everyday. And when I got my license, I told my passengers NOT to talk to me while I'm driving. It took me many many years to become an expert driver. Now I can talk nonstop while driving. I can also eat kuaci while driving. BUT I don't talk on the phone while driving(ehem).

It's the same thing with reading. Like driving, reading is a complex skill. It has to be taught from the bottom up, from the simple parts to the complex whole. In order for a person to become an expert reader, a good speller and writer, s/he has to be 'good' at it. In order to be 'good', s/he has to be competent. Competency stems from practice(repetition). Children have to practice reading, spelling, writing everyday to obtain mastery.

So my advice to Year 1 English teachers to teach phonics everyday. Please DON'T teach reading once a week. If you do so, then your pupils will be facing READING FAILURE!
Bear in mind, whether a child becomes an expert reader depends upon:

  • the teaching method(synthetic phonics , please)
  • the teacher's skill in teaching(hope BPK has trained you well)
  • parental support(definitely not in rural areas)
  • the child's motivation and talent
  • the number of lessons & hours of practice
Readeasy Phonics has been successful at preschool level, especially, for the past 10 years because we
  • use synthetic phonics.
  • train our teachers thoroughly in reading instruction.
  • teach reading(blending, segmenting) everyday for half an hour.
Never forget that the teacher of a young child is the custodian of that child's destiny...

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