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Development of Academic Skills

Phonetics Approach

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 Phonetics (Hall & Moats, 1999):

 - An approach to teaching reading

 - The system by which the written alphabet represents speech

 - The strategies children use to sound out words


The Phonetics Approach

 - Code based – refers to the alphabet as a code

 - Focus on alphabet letters, letter groups and distinct speech sounds

-  Emphasize learning and combining speech sound units that make up words and applying them to sounding out unfamiliar words

- Teachers instruct children in learning the connection between spelling of words and their speech sounds – and learning how to blend sounds together to form words.


Strategies used:

 – phonological recoding

 - word skill recognition

 - back-up strategies: sounding out, blending, segmenting, chunking



A Phonics First-Grade Classroom


         This room contrasts with the whole language classroom in some obvious ways. The desks are arranged in groups also; when the children are seated they each face the blackboard at the front. In fact, when we enter the room the children are seated at their desks all focused toward the blackboard at the front of the room. The teacher, Mrs. H, is talking about the consonant t, and the children are drawing the letter in the air in big sweeping motions. After several times practicing drawing the letter in the air she asks the children to choose a partner and lie down on the floor to make the shape of the letter. After the children have settled back into their chairs, Mrs. H then moves to the blackboard where she has taped a large poster board. She asks the children to think of all the words they know that begin with the sound /t/, and she records the list as each child anxiously wants to add a word to the list. Once this list is composed, Mrs. H then hands out a paper divided into six sections. She asks each child to write six words that begin with the letter t and then to draw a picture of that word in the square.

         After the children finish their pages, Mrs. H directs the students' attention to the blackboard where she demonstrates the proper way to write the letter t. She then asks the children to practice writing the letter t several times on lined paper she distributes. After the handwriting practice, she asks all the children to come to the reading corner because they are going to read a book. She has written five words on an easel next to her rocking chairs. Mrs. H first reviews five words that will appear in the story they are about to read together. She explains how to sound out the word which, noting that it has the sound /tch/ but does not follow the /tch/ spelling rule as in pitch, ditch, and stitch. After distributing the books several children take turns reading the story round-robin style. When one boy reaches a word he doesn't know (stop), Mrs. H asks him to sound it out. He struggles, so she asks him, "What sound does s make?" He tells her the sound of each of the four letters and then pronounces them together, beaming with his success (Hall & Moats, 1999).   

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