Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Maxim full of phonemes

Source: Maxim magazine.

Yesterday, I attended the first training session to be a tutor at the Racine Literacy Council and was reminded that words really are just the sounds we associate ideas with. Also, when it comes to adult learners, ideas of phonetics and separating out words requires a new approach.

We as tutors have to use tried and true methods that have also been used as the brunt of jokes. “Hooked on Phonics” is not a tag line our adult learners want to walk around with. At the same time, after they have mastered basic literacy skills, these students will succeed amazingly.

Having survived so long without literacy, they have adapted in other ways. In some cases, we might not even recognize the fact that they cannot read. Though rare, there are business leaders and even teachers in our society who cannot read.

When it comes to phonetics, a phoneme is the smallest unit of meaning or functional sound in language. Research has shown that phonological awareness is one of the most important factors in learning how to read. Phonemes can be taught both as letters and as sounds. The specifics can be broken down as follows:

Onset – the beginning sound of a word (the b- part of bend)

Rime – the ending sound of a word (the -end part of bend)

Blend – two letters that combine together but are still two separate sounds (the sn- part of snap)

Digraph – two letters that combine together to form one sound (the ch- part of chap)

This all gets a little too analytical a little too fast, so it is best to use it in small doses when working with learners, particularly adult learners. Like Daily Oral Language, give them a shot of it at the beginning of class, and then move on with the rest of the lesson. Quickly move on to learning how to read something more pressing, like Maxim magazine.

1 comment:

  1. This has got to be the most confusing and poorly worded piece of writing I have ever read. What are you even trying to say?


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