There are several approaches to help your child learn to read.
But which technique will best help your child to learn reading in the most effective and fastest way?
Let us take a look at the top 2 proven methods of teaching reading to children that are being adopted by educational trainers today.
1) The Whole Language Technique / Sight Words
The whole language method teaches children to read words as whole pieces of language, instead of decoding words into their individual sounds.
Children learn to link words with their corresponding visuals.
For example, after seeing the word “cat” with the image of a cat for a number of times, they learn to associate that word with the object of a cat.
This approach may lead to children learning language reading at a faster rate.
But without the foundational knowledge of breaking down words into individual sounds, it also limits their ability to be flexible in learning new words as they grow.
2) Learning To Read Through Phonemic Awareness
This second technique is in contrast to the whole language approach of familiarizing a child with a word visually.
The phonemic awareness approach to learning reading trains children to break down individual sounds that make up words in order to read them correctly.
Instead of ‘memorizing’ words visually, phonemic awareness teaches children to decode words according to sound units or phonemes in order to understand how they sound like.
While this approach may seem more tedious than the whole language method, studies by the National Reading Panel of the US have shown that phonemic awareness produces better reading results than whole language programs.
By building a strong foundation of their phonemic awareness, it becomes easier for children to expand their ability to read new words, as compared to learning by sight.
“So Which Method Should I Use?”
It is pretty clear to see that training to read by phonemic awareness has an advantage over teaching children to recognize words visually (i.e. using whole language).
But that is not to say that the whole language method should be completely ignored. There are words that do not follow the rule of phonics and still need to be taught to children by familiarizing them visually, such as “right”, “enough”, and “sign”.
So the best approach as recommended by educational experts is a blended approach of both phonemic awareness and whole language techniques, by first building a strong sense of phonemic awareness in children, and then expanding their reading skills through sight words.
There are a number of books and educational programs out there to help your child learn reading by introducing them to phonics and phonemic awareness. Find out why Children Learning Reading is a favorite with parents around the world!
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