EDC231 - Teaching Language
and Literacy in Junior Primary
Assessment 2 – Essay
Teachers must have an understanding of the importance of early, explicit and systematic phonics instruction as an essential foundation for teaching children to read.
It is broadly recognised that literacy is an essential skill and that a high degree of competency in this area will significantly enhance a student’s future prospects in life (Heckman, 2000). Phonics is the process of making the connection between sounds and letters when reading and spelling. For early students to be able to link knowledge of the spoken language to their own knowledge of written language they must first master the system of grapheme phoneme connections that link the written word with their own pronunciation. (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2009a). Coltheart (2005) submits that there is strong scientific evidence which suggests that student reading proficiency is improved significantly when grounded in direct, explicit and systematic phonics instruction. Krashen suggests that solely relying on phonics based approaches in teaching often results in children achieving highly in pronunciation tasks, but struggling in comprehension (as cited in Ewing & Maher, 2014). Given the fundamental purpose of reading is to construct and reconstruct the meaning of a text, (Emmitt, Hormsby & Wilson, 2014) it is suggested that whilst phonics is a foundational element to a reading program, it is most effective when a high level of emphasis is placed on meaning in conjunction with comprehension of text. It is vital that educators apply this theory throughout a variety of literacy tasks when teaching a student to read and that there is full cognisance of the importa...
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...in reading than alternative programs that involve unsystematic phonics or no phonics instruction (National Reading Panel, 2000). There is more to pacing instruction than simply plugging the student into a pre-built systematic program of phonics. That is, educators must adapt pedagogical strategies to fit what programs students are using, but use the mistakes a child makes to reveal opportunities for orthographic development (Bear, Invernizzi, Francine & Templeton 2012). It is important that teachers provide systematic, direct and explicit phonics instruction so that children master the essential alphabetic code-breaking skills required for foundational reading proficiency. It is however, equally vital that teachers provide an integrated approach to reading that supports the development of oral language, vocabulary, grammar, reading fluency and comprehension.
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