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READING MADE EASY WITH PHONOGRAMS AND WORDS
Teaching reading can be easy and your child can become very interested in learning to read. The magic formula is to teach the sounds of phonograms (called phonemes) and to accompany each phoneme with just the right word. The right word to go with the single and specific phonogram sound, or phoneme, is what empowers the child to read.
In the Home Reading Program, which you can DOWNLOAD from this site, the right words are selected for you. The right word is a word that the child will be able to decode, which is another word for read. It is pivotal that children experience a sense of achievement and victory from the very beginning of their reading adventure!
Are phonograms too hard?
Phonograms are depictions, or symbols, of the sounds of speech, which sounds are also referred to as "phonemes". Because of ineffective teaching methods, phonograms have earned the reputation of being difficult to learn and difficult to teach. This need not be so.
Reading is commonly taught by the use of two opposing methods.
Experts do not seem to agree on what is the best way to teach children to read. The two most commonly known methods for teaching reading are widely divergent. One method uses words, only, and phonograms are never taught; and the other uses phonograms first, and words come much, much later. There is something to be said for each of these methods. Nevertheless, I believe both methods to be lacking –whereas combining the two methods makes learning much more effective and eliminates the major deficiencies.
Phonograms are the keys to decoding words.
A child that merely memorizes various combinations of letter-symbols, or words, without learning phonograms does not know how to decode the words; and his activity is not true reading. Words Only proponents say that if you show children enough words, the children will subconsciously figure out the phonetic code. The problem with this approach is that children need to memorize more, and parents need to show more –many more, words than they do when children are taught to read with phonograms and carefully selected supporting words.
The Words Only method is a much longer road for both child and parent to take in order for the child to learn to read.
When children are taught to read with phonograms, they can read books at an earlier age; and because phonograms empower reading, children will be able to figure out words on their own.
On the other hand, phonograms shown without words delay reading, also.
There are 70 phonograms with one hundred and eleven phonemes represented by the 70 phonograms. The phonemes do not mean anything in and by themselves. This, too, is a longer road to travel before a child can comprehend what he is learning and can gain the satisfaction of reading –which he can have if the right words are introduced into his reading program.
Take a simple word like "cats", for example. There are multiple phonemes for three of the four letters. If you ask the child to sound out what he sees (without having been exposed to words) what comes forth is nothing like the word cats. The child will say that cats (c+a+t+s) is pronounced: k+s+ a" (short vowel)+ a (long vowel) +ah+ "uh" + t+s+ z –which has no resemblance to the word cats!
Phonograms have been made too difficult.
After phonograms are learned in the absence of words, using the Phonograms First method, the instructor is faced with the challenge of teaching, and the child has the challenge of learning that in order to read the above word cats, he must first choose between the k and s phonemes; then choose between the short vowel a phoneme, the long vowel a phoneme, the ah phoneme and the "uh" phoneme; the t doesn't require a choice; and finally he must choose between the phonemes s and z. No wonder students and teachers, alike, have recoiled from working with phonograms!
Naming phonograms is not a breeze.
The names of the phonograms are not the same as the names of the letters comprising the phonograms. Rather, the names of the phonograms are the sounds the phonograms make, or phonemes. It takes quite a bit of time and practice for an instructor to memorize the multiple phonemes that accompany so many of the phonograms. Besides, one can get a bit tongue-tied trying to remember strings of phonemes, and parents dont have the time to go through this process. In today's busy world that is a luxury few people have.
Is the fear founded?
Phonograms First proponents claim that offering words with phonograms undermines the learning process. They fear it will interfere with the childs ability to grasp the concept of the sound-to-symbol relationship. While there may be some truth to this if words are chosen indiscriminately, I am aware of no evidence to support this claim when the right words are carefully selected and the parent proceeds in a rational, orderly fashion.
I believe the right word reinforces the sound-to-symbol relationship by proving the case for the child. The child can see for himself that the phonogram does, indeed, make a particular sound in a particular word.
Learning sounds one-at-a-time with a supporting word for each sound does not hinder learning to read. It accelerates reading! Simply tell the child that some phonograms have more than one phoneme, or sound. Let the child know if he is learning a phonogram that has multiple phonemes, and let the child know that he will be learning the phonemes, one sound at a time.
Easy to Learn
Phonograms can be easy to learn and easy to teach by using a simple, balanced approach. In the Home Reading Program every individual phoneme that a particular phonogram represents has its own flashcard with a phoneme-specific word shown on the back of the flashcard.
Parents will not find it difficult to say the phonemes, as there is only one sound to pronounce with each flashcard. All they need to do, in order to determine how to pronounce the phoneme, is to look at the simple word, which is the key to its pronunciation.
The phonogram is colored magenta for easy recognition.
The phonogram is colored magenta on both sides of the flashcard. The child can easily identify the phonogram in the word because it stands out in magenta color, while the rest of the letters are black. The child is able to easily recognize that the phonogram shown in the word is the same phonogram that he saw on the face of the flashcard. (Editors note: Phonograms with Words also come in black and grey for those without colored printers.)
READING MADE EASY WITH PHONOGRAMS
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