How Early Readers Learn Fast Phonics Without Phonic Books
July 28, 2016 2:15 pm
An interesting article appeared in the Daily Mail of 18 July 2016. Eleanor Harding quotes a report from the charity Save the Children. It underscores what I have worked hard to promote for so many years.
Learning does not begin at school. Learning begins way before, in fact, soon after birth. Your child learns every moment it is awake, and what it learns is up to you. When you recite, read, and sing songs and nursery rhymes you are formally educating your child. Eleanor Harding’s article quotes from the Save the Children’s report that the result of this parent/child interaction will affect a child’s education right through school and into the world of work.
It follows that if this time, pre-school, can set the success of your child’s future, clever parents will use it to include, firstly the sound alphabet in song. Not aye, bee, cee, dee; but a (as in cat) b (as in but) c (as in cup). These sounds fit snugly within the conventional Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star tune, and do remember that x is pronounced ‘kiss’.
Many people, often misguided ‘earth mothers,’ at this point scream in horror, ”Why teach a tiny child? Why rob it of its childhood?” or ”Let kids be kids – time to learn when they go to school.” They claim that teaching tiny children is Victorian, Gothic, cruel. So they say, but this is flawed ideology.
When a child has all the sounds of the alphabet in place and can show you ‘b’ or ‘m’ or ‘g’ (always using the sound name, not ‘bee,’ ’em,’ or ‘gee’), then little Mitzy or Mike is ready to read. You write the sounds in red felt tip pen on white file card, set them on the floor, and ask your tot to bring you ‘p,’ then ‘a’ and then ‘t.’ You set them out to form ‘pat’ and read across. Lastly you PAT the floor, the cat, each other, to put your written word into context, for reading and comprehension. As simple as that! It is a game, it’s energetic. It is fun. It is sharing, communicating and talking with your child and takes no more time than any other game. If you never teach Mitzi or Mike anything else pre-school your child will begin reception able to read:
‘A pet dog can run and sit and a frog has a spot on its leg. In a hut is a cup and a pink drink but a cat can sit on a red mat and drink it.’ Draw a dog, a frog, a hut and a pink drink – children do not expect perfect art. Or act out your sentence, making it great fun. Comprehension and reading go hand in hand.
All from those base alphabet sounds. At first don’t include sounds like ‘th’ or ‘ch’ they come a little later, use only single alphabet sounds. How simple is reading.
If, according to Eleanor Harding’s article, drawing, painting and singing songs and nursery rhymes will boost your child’s entire education throughout school and beyond, imagine how very much more this reading game will help him. He will not be at the mercy of his peer group in every situation when a supply or new teacher is told, ”Mike isn’t here, he’s with the special reading lady.” Nor will he be an embarrassed seven year old trying to read a word or sentence while other children chat or squirm around. I’ve seen it all and more, hundreds of times and this scenario really is Victorian, Gothic and cruel.
You can prevent it by simply playing at reading with him, the fast phonics reading game and it really is a game like any other early childhood activity. What is more you don’t need phonic books, just cards, red pen, my information and set about letting your kids be kids – in fact happy kids.
Next time I shall show you how to go one simple stage further. I’ll also tell you why formal reading, the single most important subject in your child’s school life, opening doors to all other lifelong studies, has become the Cinderella subject, with many schools hearing individual children only once in six weeks. There is a reason.
This is Teaching Post 1early childhood literacy, early readers, fast phonics, phonic books
This post was written by Alonah Reading Cambridge