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Midbrain-Activation Tips, Issue #040
October 26, 2014
Dear Friend



  1. Quote for the Week
  2. Editorial
  3. Feature Article
  4. Tips & Tricksl
  5. Feedback
  6. Q & A

Quote of the Week

Have you ever been in a situation when you are astonished by your children's pure hearts and their almost magical power? It is from this power that Quantum Speed reading evolves. There are now children who can understand what a book is all about by just quickly flipping the pages.

Yumiko Tobitani


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Best Way to Teach a child to Read

What's the best way to teach children to read? Do you teach them sight words, teach letters and sounds, or use different phonics learning methods? Teaching sight words is a rather poor and inadequate method of learning to read. In fact, the whole language method of learning produces poor readers, and can actually lead to reading difficulties. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have phonemic awareness and phonics instructions, which have been proven to be far superior for helping kids learn to read. The National Reading Panel had stated "teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective under a variety of teaching conditions with a variety of learners across a range of grade and age levels and that teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading more than instruction that lacks any attention to Phonemic Awareness."

Phonemic Awareness instruction was selected for review by the NRP in their report because studies have identified phonemic awareness and letter knowledge as two of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read in their first 2 years of entering school. There is strong Scientific evidence to suggest that phonemic awareness instructions are an important part in helping children develop reading skills.

From my experience, having developed a complete reading program, and having helped thousands of other parents teach their children to read, I can say definitively that applying phonemic awareness teachings along with phonics instructions is the best combination for teaching a child to read. I have gone through this countless times - having taught all of my own children to read well before 3 years old, and having helped other parents and grandparents teach their children to read - these are young children of varying ages between 2 to 8 years old. I've had parents with kindergartners that were going to be held back because the child could not read, and after a summer of reading instructions with our program, the child excelled at reading. I've had parents with grade one children who could not read at grade level, and after completing our program, was able to read at or above their grade level. I've also had parents with 2 or 3 years olds, telling me how thrilled they are when their tiny toddler was reading, phonetically.

Because of the extensive experience we've had in teaching children to read, we can say that a combination of teaching phonemic awareness and phonics produces the best results.

What is Phonemic Awareness -

Phonemic Awareness is defined as the ability to identify, hear, and work with the smallest units of sound known as phonemes. It is NOT the same as phonological awareness, instead, it is a sub-category of phonological awareness. For example, phonemic awareness is narrow, and deals only with phonemes and manipulating the individual sounds of words - such as /c/, /a/, and /t/ are the individual sounds that make up to form the word "cat". Phonological awareness on the other hand, includes the phonemic awareness ability, and it also includes the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate larger units of sound such as rimes and onsets.

Phonemic awareness can be taught very early on, and will play a critical role in helping children learn to read and spell. While it's not set in stone on when a child can learn to read, however, I do believe that a child that can speak is a child that can learn to read. Children as young as two years old can learn to read by developing phonemic awareness, and they can learn to read fluently

WATCH THESE CHILDREN Below are several of the most common phonemic awareness skills that are often practiced with students and young children:

Phonemic identity - being able to recognize common sounds in different words such as /p/ is the common sound for "pat", "pick", and "play".
Phonemic isolation - being able to recognize the individual sounds of words such as /c/ is the beginning sound of "cat" and /t/ is the ending sound of "cat".

Phoneme substitution - being able to change one word to another by substituting one phoneme. For example changing the /t/ in "cat" to /p/ now makes "cap".

Word Segmenting - the parent says the word "lap", and the child says the individual sounds: /l/, /a/, and /p/.

Oral blending - the parent says the individual sounds such as /r/, /e/, and /d/, and the child forms the word from the sounds to say "red".

Why is Teaching Phonemic Awareness Important?

Studies have found that phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success in young children. Research has also found that children with a high level of phonemic awareness progress with high reading and spelling achievements; however, some children with low phonemic awareness experience difficulties in learning to read and spell. Therefore, it is important for parents to help their young children develop good phonemic awareness. [1]

Being able to oral blend and segment words helps children to read and spell. According to the National Reading Panel, oral blending helps children develop reading skills where printed letters are turned into sounds which combine to form words. Additionally, word segmenting helps children breakdown words into their individual sounds (phonemes), and helps children learn to spell unfamiliar words.

As a young child begins to develop and master phonemic awareness skills, they will discover an entirely new world in print and reading. You will open up their world to a whole new dimension of fun and silliness. They will be able to read books that they enjoy, develop a better understanding of the world around them through printed materials, and have a whole lot of fun by making up new nonsense words through phonemic substitutions.

For example, we taught our daughter to read at a young age - when she was a little over 2 and a half years old. Before she turned three, she would run around the house saying all types of silly words using phonemic substitution.

One of her favorite was substituting the letter sound /d/ in "daddy" with the letter sound /n/. So, she would run around me in circles and repeatedly say "nanny, nanny, come do this" or "nanny, nanny, come play with me" etc...

Of course, she only did this when she wanted to be silly and to make me laugh, at other times, she would of course properly refer to me as "daddy", and not "nanny". She is well aware of the differences between these words and is fully capable of using phonemic substitution to change any of the letters in the words to make other words.







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