Monday, January 2, 2012

Rambling About Reading.... I've been on several homeschool forums and it seems teaching reading is a concern for many homeschool moms.  Myself included.  I have been researching reading programs for some time and own several.  I also have come to realize, what works for one child, may not always work for the other.

After attending a conference in CO last month and hearing Dr. David Sousa speak about how the brain learns, I recently started reading one of his books called...

How the Brain Learns to Read

....and believe it or not, it's very fascinating.

Did you know, learning to read, unlike spoken language, is not a natural ability?   According to Dr. Sousa, "The brain has no areas specialized for reading.  The skills needed to link the sounds of language to the letters of the alphabet must be learned through direct instruction."  In other words, God hard-wired our brains genetically to speak naturally.  However, we must be taught to read.

Dr. Sousa's book goes on to stress the importance of a phonics based reading program for beginning readers because apparently, the English language has a deep orthography.  That is, English has a poor correspondence between how a word is pronounced and how it is spelled.  He showed a graph to demonstrate this, comparing English to a few other languages.

Language Sounds and Their Spellings
Number of Sounds (Phonemes)
Number of Ways to Spell Sounds

Dr. Sousa also talked about the major components of reading instruction being phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency, and reading comprehension  

After some research, I found this slide presentation regarding phonological and phonemic awareness.  I think the presentation does a nice job of explaining these concepts in layman's terms.  It gives some alarming statistics as well as teaching strategies to help develop strong readers.

I need to go try to finish Dr. Sousa's book since it's due tomorrow at the library.  I will say the research I've done thus far, solidifies my belief in how important phonics instruction is to teaching reading.  We'll definitely be continuing those Explode the Code books!

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