My daughter is now approaching learning to read age, and it’s an exciting time for me.
After posting a query about learning letters at LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/What-do-people-think-about-1483117.S.52638577?qid=fa002577-a7f3-40a8-a076-db5d80cde5b2&trk=group_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmp_1483117, and also http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Id-love-discuss-lifelong-reader-1483117.S.57821186?qid=fa002577-a7f3-40a8-a076-db5d80cde5b2&trk=group_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmp_1483117
Through this, I’ve been involved in some great discussion that opened up some really interesting ideas. This also led to the discovery there is a huge debate about the different methods of learning to read.
As a result, I’ve just added a link to http://www.phonicsinternational.com/, and a sample file from their website, which explains complex sounds, many of which I’d completely forgotten about. And to http://www.rrf.org.uk/resources.html where there are some really great resources there, which explain more about phonics than I ever remember learning. These resources are really great for parents and children’s writers to become familiar with.
I’ve also done some more research into the whole word method, and Glen Doman – who’s foundation promotes starting whole word recognition as a baby. The important thing I’ve learnt, primarily from his adversaries is, it may or may not work, but as long as it’s fun for you and the child (which is a primary aim of the method), and is backed up later by a solid phonics program, it can do no harm. You will know as a parent whether it works or not. And backing up with phonics is also an element of the reading method posted previously, as far as I understand.
I personally feel the words may work much better with very young readers who don’ understand the abstract concept of letters, but have the ability to recognise a pattern, but I also think that regardless of initial method, readers need to learn the letters and the sounds, i.e phonics.
I also think as a parent, you can work on a special method of combining what works for your child with fundamentals, to support the education they’re receiving. A situation that only works for one on one training, where what the enjoy most and learn most from can be used more often.
But regardless of what you do, any help you provide is not only quality sharing time, it has to be better than leaving them at the mercy of an underfunded and overcrowded education system.
Anyway, this approach has seemed to work for us so far, and also led to a new idea for an alphabet series, The Happyface Alphabet….my daughter has given it the big thumbs up, which to me is the most important thing, and also feedback so far very positive, so watch this space!