Nonna's Favorite Quotes:

Nonna's Favorite Quotes: "The best way to make children good is to make them happy." — Oscar Wilde, author and poet

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Not How We Get There

Phonics is a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning to associate letters, or groups of letters, with the sounds they represent. Sight Reading refers to the memorization and recognition of individual words.

As adults, we seldom have to sound out a new word because we recognize most words by sight. However, there is still some controversy over which is the better method of teaching children to read. After researching this subject, it appears to me that most reading experts currently accept that the best method of teaching reading involves both. Given that people can also be divided into visual learners and auditory learners, some could argue that children may have more success with one strategy than the other.


But I like to use the example of my oldest son. Jim has been profoundly deaf since birth. His deafness was diagnosed when he was about a year old. We soon discovered that there were several methods of teaching a deaf child speech and language. At that time the two main categories were oral and manual. The oral method concentrated on speech and lip reading, while the manual method concentrated mainly on the use of sign language. I wanted Jim to learn to speak, but I also understood that concentrating on speech alone would mean a lengthy period of frustration for both of us.


Sign for the letter W

Fortunately we lived in a city that had an excellent school for handicapped children. Their program for the deaf was based on an immersion in what they called Total Communication. They used sign language, auditory training, lip reading, speech, writing, reading… in short, anything that helped a child to communicate. They taught sign language using S.E.E. (Signing Exact English) instead of ASL (American Sign Language). A great many of the S.E.E. signs were formed by using the beginning letter of the word and, unlike ASL, every word in a sentence was signed. Jim’s teachers believed that the sooner a child learned to communicate correctly and effectively, the better off they would be. They were right. Jim became an excellent communicator with both deaf and hearing individuals. He also became an avid reader at an early age and still loves to read. Reading has opened up the world to him.

I look at learning to read in a similar way. Whether a child is a visual learner or an auditory learner, they will benefit by using any and all methods of teaching reading. Statistics show that around 40% of Americans have reading problems severe enough to impede their enjoyment of reading. It is so important that we do everything we can to insure that our children become good readers.

After all, what is important is the end result… it's not how we get there...and it starts with reading to your child every day.

Note:  “Nonna and Me ABCs” products are designed to help you teach your child the alphabet. Our DVD, CD, and books are both educational and fun. You can view samples of our products on our website. Literacy begins with the ABCs!

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