Phonics and Dyslexia
In my thirty years in the educational field, I have always been an advocate for phonics instruction for children with dyslexia. Phonics is the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When a kindergartener learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and a second-grader learns that “tion” sounds like /shun/, they are learning phonics.
Learning phonics will help your students learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help students decode words as they read. Knowing phonics will also help them know which letters to use as they write words.
If children do not master the different phonemes, they will be unable to attain fluency, comprehension, higher vocabulary or appropriate spelling (four essential skills developed in later levels of reading).
In addition, the National Reading Panel, composed of experts in fields of literacy was asked by the United States Congress to examine the research on the teaching of reading. What they found had important implications for phonics: they determined that phonics is an essential ingredient in beginning reading instruction and without systematic and explicit phonics instruction, students will significantly lag behind their peers. Interestingly, the panel also found that phonics most benefits children who are experiencing difficulty learning to read, such as those with dyslexia.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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