“When phonics instruction is linked to children’s reading and writing, they are more likely to become strategic and independent in their use of phonics than when phonics instruction is drilled and practiced in isolation. “
-International Reading Association position statement
Phonics is important. It is true, our alphabet is phonetic. However, language and meaning are the basis of what makes a great reader. This is why teaching reading is not always so straightforward. In fact, it is incredibly complex. Many of us have seen the paragraphs written without vowels or with mixed up letters to prove that we don’t just use phonics, but also meaning, to read. This is true, though oversimplified. Our alphabet is phonetic, and we should use our knowledge of letters, sounds and common patterns in words (e.g., -ight as in light, fight, etc.) to help us read fluently. But conveying that knowledge through meaningful words and stories from the beginning reinforces the purpose of reading: to understand, to learn, to communicate. The first, most important aspect of becoming a successful reader is our ability to use and understand language. Phonics is secondary. That is why you can read the text below:
In the video, Gabrielle’s mom is so clever when she uses the “g” in the title to connect the letter with the sound, by connecting that sound to his name. The sound a “g” makes is the same in both words. He will begin to connect and generalize that information as he sees more words with a “g” that act that way. Will that help him with the word “light”? No, but it is a start. He will eventually have many ways to attack words in order to read and understand what he is reading. The important idea here is that it is being learned in a memorable and meaningful context.
You can learn more about successful reading strategies for your little reader by visiting our Parents Resources Page.