Snapshot: Teachers' Reading Lingo
The next time you hear the teacher talk about phonics or your child's invented spelling, you'll be ready to jump right in with this list of reading lingo:
Phonics is the term for the sounds that letters and letter-groups make. The teaching of phonics involves learning which sounds go with which letters. In other words, it's decoding this thing we call "writing."
For example, the letter C makes both a hard "k" sound and a soft "s" sound.
Literature-based instruction is the most common type of reading approach. It focuses on giving children wonderful books that will inspire them to read more.
Invented spelling is the way children first attempt to write words based on their sounds. For example, a first-grader might invent these spellings:
"Ritng is eze if yoo no how to spel all the wrds."
With invented spelling, young children think first about what they'd like to say. Spelling comes later, as children develop. Teachers find that children using invented spelling write more richly. Young children find that writing about their interests -- instead of laboring over spelling -- is much more fun.
The Debate and the Balance
Educators hotly dispute how children should be taught to read. Two approaches are often set at odds: whole language and phonics. Despite the debate, research shows that exemplary teachers rarely rely on a single method. Instead they teach according to the needs of each child, using both phonics and whole language to complement their entire approach. For more information, check out Phonics and Whole Language: We Need Both!
and FamilyEducation's PTA® Connection.