Explain and comment on the methods taught in primary schools and at
home used to help children learn to read and write.
Children’s learning to read and write from an early age is essential
to their growth in the educational and working aspects of their lives.
There have been many theories and methods used to teach children to
read and write and to develop that knowledge. This essay will explain
and discuss some of these methods. This will include theories by David
Crystal, Gunther Kress, Jeanne S. Chall and B.M. Kroll. Also included
will be some methods used to teach children to read and write, such as
the “Look and Say” method taken from Oxford Reading Tree reading
books, and the phonetics exercises taken from Jolly Phonics workbooks.
It has been said that the real insight into a child’s progress is
literacy as it is seen as a way of opening a child’s mind to logical
and imaginative thinking as well as their intellectual and emotional
development. As a result emphasis in primary school curriculums has
been on teaching children to read. An example of one of the methods
used can be found in David Crystal’s book “Language Development in
School”, where he explains the use of “Basal reading programmes”. He
says in his text that Basal reading programmes are “widely used in the
U.S…. a large-scale system of preparatory texts, graded readers,
workbooks, tests and other materials”. Crystal also comments on the
advantages of this method as “comprehensive, graded, carefully
planned, children get to know the characters, settings etc”. Crystal
describes the disadvantages as “expensive, can be used inflexibly,
does not promote an exploratory use of language outside the scheme”.
From this I found this scheme to be adequate to support a child’s
ability to read although it doesn’t offer a varied or open view to its
Another method described in Crystal’s book is “Language experience
programmes”. His description of this method was that it “integrates
work in listening, speaking and writing, using a variety of materials
and activities relating to a child’s own world”. Crystal’s comments on
the advantages by saying that it “caters for individual differences,
promotes creativity, confidence and meaningful activities”. He also
comments on the disadvantages as “little grading structure, difficult
to evaluate progress, little motivation to read outside the child’s
immediate world”. From this I found that although helping the child
grow in confidence and creativity, the scheme offers little logical
thinking and lacks motivation. Also with the grading structure being
quite poor it would be harder to see if the scheme would be helping a
child to progress in their reading skills, making the scheme in my
opinion not the best way to teach children to read.
Another method Crystal describes in his book is “Individualised
programmes”. He describes this as when “children select their own
reading based on interests and...