Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Phonics Vs Whole Word Reading

If you have a TV then you know all about the Your Baby Can Read that promises your that your baby, as young as 6 months old will learn how to read. Sounds amazing doesn't it? And we all want to give our children a head start with reading. But what is the science behind these types of whole word reading methods and are the better than teaching phonics?

Whole word reading or whole word language, is exactly what the name implies. Instead of breaking the word down into individual sounds, it teaches the child to look at the word as a whole and memorize it by the way it looks. Kind of like looking at a picture of an elephant and memorizing that picture as an elephant except with words.

Benefits: Children can be taught whole word language reading at a young age. It also, generally results in faster results. This may be beneficial to struggling readers. Visual learners have also been shown to benefit from whole word reading. Whole word reading is believed to give better understanding of the text being read.

Cons: Children who use only whole word reading may have difficulty decoding complex words, because of this, whole word reading also leads to greater reading inaccuracy. Spelling unfamiliar words may also be an issue since the reader has nothing to base the spelling on.

Phonics, uses sets of rules to break down individual sounds and blends in order to decode words. Once these rules are learned, readers learn to recognize and obey the rules instantly.

Benefits: Because phonetic rules give a reader the ability to decode, the reader is more likely to be able to read unfamiliar words. Spelling is usually easier for readers who are taught phonics since the reader is able to apply the rules learned.

Cons: Phonics rules can be repetitious. Early readers may have trouble with comprehension due to the constant stopping to break down words. This usually passes as the reader becomes more proficient.

Which is better? Most likely the answer is both. A combination of phonics and whole word reading in the form of sight words will give the ability to decode words but also give the reader words that s/he does not have to decode. Readers who fall severely into visual learning may benifit more from whole word while extreme auditory learners will most likely thrive on phonics.

(Just as a side note)How do I feel about Teach Your Baby to Read? I actually think that it is a bad idea. Besides the fact that there is no scientific evidence that says that early reading is good for baby, you also have to sit your very young child down in front of a TV and then in front of flash cards. I am all for just for letting your baby be a baby!

Whole Language Curriculum Resources
Phonics Approach Curriculum Resources


Cakeblast said...

I agree that both whole words and phonics are important. Out 5yo is really good with whole word reading, and being able to read seems to help him with all of his subjects including phonics.

I agree with your statement about "Baby Can Read." There are more important things to teach babies, and they learn a lot just from being read to.


Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

Reading is known to have numerous benefits. It increases your world knowledge, enhances your vocabulary, and works to improve your reading comprehension abilities.

But did you know that reading can actually make you smarter?

In fact, reading not only can make a child smarter, the very act of reading can even help to compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability in children by building their vocabulary and general knowledge! This is a finding reported by researchers Cunningham and Stanovich in a report titled "What Reading Does For the Mind".

The simple fact here is that reading can make your child smarter, and that learning to read early on is directly linked to later success in life.

1) Did you know that your child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade one reading success? [1]

2) Did you know that vocabulary and reading ability in first grade strongly predicts grade 11 outcomes? [2]

3) Did you know that your child's reading skill in grade 3 directly influences high school graduation? Studies have found that children who cannot read proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers! [3]

>> Give your child the best possible head start. Teach your child to read today. Click here to learn how.

But how do you teach a young child to read, and isn't that the job of the school and teachers?

You can't be more wrong...

With the right tools, knowledge, and techniques, teaching young children to read can be a simple and effective process. I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic reading program called Children Learning Reading, a super effective method for teaching children to read - even children as young as just 2 or 3 years old.

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I can understand if you find that hard to believe... In fact, I had a difficult time believing it myself as well... that is, until I saw the videos they posted documenting the reading progress of the their children - not to mention all the videos other parents have sent in showcasing their children's reading progress after using the Children Learning Program. After learning more about their methods and techniques, it became clear how it's possible to teach young children to read effectively.

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1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto

2. Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later.
Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

3. Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,