The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

My Message to Phonics Followers

on February 22, 2020

Dear Phonics Followers,

I want to thank all of you who sent me your opinions about the teaching of reading. But since many of your messages were sort of nasty, I won’t repeat them here and embarrass you. Instead I will try to explain my view of teaching reading so you can understand why I believe it is easier and more effective for teaching reading than phonics.

As I’ve said before, I believe that learning to read is like learning to dance, play a game, or sing a song. And because it is a natural part of human development we must treat it that way. Yes, we should also examine books and other things people write, in order to get a feeling for the “game” of writing, but that is not a hard job or a hideout in a new world. Because reading and writing are natural developments in our lives we must pay attention, believe in them, and become a member of the crowd.

The most interesting fact about teaching reading is that you don’t have to explain or repeat much. If you can begin by presenting pictures of animals, objects, or people to young learners, they will have no trouble remembering them in written forms. Just be sure to provide visual information along with new written words, and keep relating them. The key to reading and writing is being able to match what you see, feel, hear, or say with written words. That is not difficult, it just takes some practice.

In addition, a child’s ability to read small linking words such as “and”, “so”, “of”, “is” and “was”, can be easily taught by drawing attention to their presence in speech. Students will come to recognize them as parts of their own talking. What happens to children is that their knowledge of spoken language transfers to their reading and writing abilities when they are introduced to them, and see them as necessary parts of written communication; just as they are parts of spoken communication.

As I have said many times before, learning to read is like learning to dance, play games, or sing songs. It is a natural component of human development, and we must teach it that way. Yes, teachers should examine books, stories and other things that have been written in oder to get ready for the “game” of writing. But that is not getting a new job or entering a new world. Reading and writing are ordinary parts of our humanity. So remember that and believe it. Then start reading, and finally, move on to writing.

2 responses to “My Message to Phonics Followers

  1. Frankey Jones says:

    Absolutely! why is this so hard? Great article!


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