Teach your Child to Read English
Memory research has verified the efficiency of teaching all of the sounds of the phonogram at one time, rather than in layers. When the phonogram sounds are introduced together, the brain can store the information in one place for easy retrieval. The easiest way to learn to read and spell is to know all of the sounds of the phonogram. This is needed quickly for simple and often used words, such as in the word “all”. If the student doesn’t know the three sounds of the phonogram “a” it isn’t possible for them to read this word.
Phonogram Sound Sequences & Decoding
If you’re a new reader and you’re looking to start teaching all 72 Orton phonograms today, I recommend our Mnemonic Phonic Technique. It’s a free learning tool that teaches the sounds of the phonograms in their ‘use frequency’ (sounds that are used more frequently than others, in sequential order).
Some phonograms have the same sound in every word in which they appear. Others have several sounds, and deciding which sound to use is one of the skills need for decoding (reading ) English. The sounds of the phonograms are in order of their frequency of use. For instance, the sound sequence for the phonogram “a” is 1. /a/ (have), 2. /a/ (letter name), 3. /ah/ (ball). It says its first sound about 70 percent of the time, its second sound almost 25 percent of the time and its third sound less often. When the students try the first sound in a word they will most often be right. If the first sound doesn’t work, then they should try the second sound, and the third sound last.
We cannot be concentrating on identification of letter sounds at the same time we are trying to understand what we are reading. For skilful comprehension, readers first must be able to sound out letters and spelling patterns quickly and automatically. As phonics skills develop and become automatic, focus begins to shift naturally from decoding to meaning. Equipped with these skills, students often seem to read whole sentences at a time. Explicit phonics instruction is a critical step leading to a truly balanced “whole word” reading.
Deciding which phonogram sound to use is one of the skills needed for reading English. Click to tweet
English: Sound/Symbol/Rules System
The sound/symbol relationships and spelling rules that should be taught with the phonograms and spelling words are highly relevant because those that do not know them cannot learn to spell except by whole-word memorization. About 10% of students have enough photographic memory to do quite well. Around 30% lack this visual ability and another 50% cannot perform this task well. The failure to teach English as a sound/symbol/rules system causes sustained frustration, slow thought, low self-esteem and failure for at least 60% of writers and readers.
Teaching the 72 Orton Phonograms, the 29 Spalding Spelling Rules with the Extended Ayres Spelling List of the 1,000+ most commonly used words taught in the order of use frequency explains most spelling problems in the English language of the thousands of words that we use most often.
In order for beginning students to learn to construct literate English sentences they must learn spelling words taught in the order of use frequency, not only words in categories or of the letters/phonograms being taught. From the beginning the students construct oral and written sentences and paragraphs using the words from their Spelling Notebooks.
In the spelling lessons the students obtain the basic knowledge of how the written language works. At the completion of the spelling list at the end of the 3rd grade the student can decode (read/pronounce) the longest of unfamiliar words syllable by syllable. At this point, students are able to read anything in their comprehensions vocabularies, about 30,000 words. Compare this with the 900 words third-graders are able to read using Whole Language.
Spelling must be learned in syllables along with the spelling rules. This knowledge is a real short-cut to spelling accuracy. Learning one rule for many words is much easier than learning each word individually. The importance of the spelling rules may be demonstrated with the “Silent Final E’s”. The language has many words that end in a silent e with no apparent reason. The Silent Final e’s have at least 5 functions in English: 1.The silent e “lets the vowel say its name (time). 2. English words do not end in u or v (true, love). 3. The e makes c say /s/ and allows the g to say /j/ (dance, large). 4. Part of the -le suffix (lit.tle). Every syllable must a vowel. 5. Odd Job e: dye, are, come. Any not listed above (city, cycle).
The phonogram sound sequences are incorporated with the spelling rules. For instance, the phonogram “c” has two sounds,/k/ and /s/. Most of the “c” words use the /k/ sound (cat). The student learns to use the /s/ sound when the word is taught with the rule: The “c” says /s/ before e, i or y (cent, city, cycle).
Spell and Write to READ!
Phonics awareness and auditory processing skills can be more precisely and efficiently taught through spelling rather than randomly taught through “implicit” phonics applied to pronouncing words for reading. Phonics for reading alone gives only approximate pronunciations for many words. Early learning of correct spelling patterns (while avoiding programming of misinformation such as “invented” spellings), allows elementary students to write with increased precision and creativity. As a result, they can then read at their interest and speaking vocabulary levels enjoying quality literature with its obvious benefits.
For my new readers, you can subscribe to the YesPhonics blog and my YouTube channel for more homeschool and classroom advice—and try our Mnemonic Phonic Technique for free to learn the 72 sounds of English, it’s especially practical for ESL students trying to learn English.