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Discuss The Place Of Phonics In The Reading Process With Reference To The Reading Searchlights.

2111 words - 8 pages

DISCUSS THE PLACE OF PHONICS IN THE READING PROCESS WITH REFERENCE TO THEREADING SEARCHLIGHTS.Although obvious to state, the reading process is the process involved in reading, and more specifically for this essay, the process of learning to read. Debate on this topic is both wide ranging and long standing with one camp believing that word recognition is phonically based (i.e. reading begins with letters and their sounds) and the other camp placing the emphasis on reading being meaning based, thus fostering a 'look and say' approach. As the National Literacy Strategy states in its opening gambit, 'Literacy is at the heart of the drive to raise standards in schools' , so ensuring that children become fluent readers is of paramount importance to primary teachers. But if the process of reading itself is open to debate, by consequence, so is the way in which reading should be taught. With some academics expounding strong views such as 'There is no reading problem. There are problem teachers and problem schools.' , this must seem a daunting topic to study from the outset, and one with far reaching implications for any prospective primary teacher.When involved in a discussion on the reading process and phonics, the term 'phonological awareness' must be considered. By the time they begin school, most children will understand simple spoken words such as 'dog' or 'hat' but will be unaware that each word can be broken down into sequences of identifiable sounds. As the reading process begins, however, children learn that letters represent sounds and that groups of letters and sounds make up words. On the other hand, just because the sounds 'd' - 'o'- 'g' make dog, the child may not have to be aware of the three letter sounds in order to recognise the whole word - they could simply recognise it as a visual pattern. Thus, if the term 'phonological awareness' is defined as 'children's awareness of sound', it cannot be taken for granted that this is all that is involved in learning to read. Other factors must also be considered such as knowledge of concept, grammatical knowledge and whole word recognition, and alongside phonics, these themes form the basis of the reading searchlights. While it is generally accepted that fluent readers use all these strategies when understanding text, each is worthy of investigation.First, let us examine 'phonics based' approaches to the reading process, widely classified as 'bottom up' approaches (as opposed to 'top down' approaches which will be discussed in due course). Bottom up models assume that the reading process begins with recognising and deciphering different letters and groups of letters which form whole words and in turn form sentences, paragraphs and complete texts. As these models begin by assuming that all reading begins actually on the page (and therefore externally to the reader) they are also known as 'inside out' or 'data driven' models. As these begin with individual letters and how they are sequenced to...

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