July 21, 2005

Word Recognition

"I don't hear any sounds. I don't know what you're talking about." said George.

In this chapter Beers gives a very nice overview of the issues that come into play when students have to figure out what a group of letters say when they are connected together as a word. She also gives a good list of definitions so that she and the reader are on common ground when considering the meaning of terms such as: phonemes, sight words, vowel teams, rimes etc. She includes valuable charts that plot out phonemic issues.

When working with middle and high school students who have trouble with word recognition she looks for four things:

-how many high-frequency and sight words can they quickly identify
-can they read single-syllable words but not multisyllabic words
-when reading multisyllabic words, are they guessing at the word based on the first few letters or are they working through the entire word very slowly
-what do they know about letters and sounds

The rest of the chapter is spent on giving 10 suggestions for the English/language arts teacher to implement. Her suggestion of teaching rime patterns includes a chart that lists 37 rimes that make 500 words (p. 234). As a teacher of ESL students I found this to be potentially a powerful window into learning to read a lot of English words. Another suggestions involves teaching rules about syllables. In this section she does an analysis of the consonant/vowel patterns in words, comparing those with a long vowel sound to those with a short vowel sound.

Though this chapter is very focused on patterns and rules in English word formation, she does address the skewed emphasis on phonics and argues for the need to have this be only one part of the language experience when working with struggling readers.

Posted by john6454 at July 21, 2005 12:54 PM