Reading 101: Phonics

No I am not talking about the, pardon my bluntness, crap they teach in schools nowadays. I’m talking about real phonics.

Now you might ask, “what’s the difference?” Simple.

  • See-n-say (i.e. the current form of “phonics”) teaches you to read whole words: [cat], [boat], [knowledge].
  • True phonics teaches you to read syllables and then combine them: [c][a][t], [b][oa][t],   [kn][ow][l][e][dg][e].

What is the benefit of learning true phonics?

When you learn how to read syllables you can then read any word that you come across no matter how long or convoluted it might be. If you only know how to read whole words, you most likely will have a very difficult time read combined words, or even books written more than 50 years ago.

If you know how different letter combinations sound (i.e. syllables), then your writing exponentially improves. For example: let’s say you are trying to write the word “knowledge.”

If you are going by see-n-say method you would have to remember that this word is a (false) combination of “know” and “ledge.” Try pronouncing those separately… do they sound like “knowledge”? Of course not. They might sound a bit similar, but if you are spelling just by how a word sounds, then good luck spelling the full word correctly.

Now, if you go by phonics you do a three part, simple, process.

  1. Break the word down into logical syllables [n][o][l][e][g] (misspelled on purpose, keep reading).
  2. Figure out the logical letter combination: in this case [kn][ow][l][e][dg][e]                         (the [ow] and [dg] syllables are somewhat tricky to remember).
  3. Recombine and write.

Over the next few weeks (or months, depending on life) I will be uploading posts going over the actual breakdown of phonetic syllables so that you can begin reading.

Gambatte!

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