This writing focuses on nature and teaching of reading in children.

1.  Writing Systems and Speech

Writing systems are designed to represent the individual words of a language, whether through individual words or other higher units of language, such as phrase and sentence. There are many different writing scripts in the world today, example: India (Devanagri), Egypt (Arabia), Israel (Hebrew), China (Characters), Japan (Character Kana), U.S.S.R (Cyrillic) and Canada (Roman).

Speech is what is said. The different between writing and speech is in the use of language. Such no vocabulary item appears in speech and also different outputs of writing and speech.

2.  Optimal Principles for  the Learning of Reading

a. Reading should involve only meaningful words, phrases and sentences

When taught of children, must selecting word, phrases or sentence with such items be familiar to the child. It is also important that relate to personal context such objects, experiences, action, situations, or events in the child’s environment. Example: car, television, hot, juice, let’s go to the store, etc.

b. Reading should depend on speech understanding and not on speech production

Reading can be learned without speaking. It is often observed to person with speech disabilities or mute. The person acquire language by listening to others speak, and they learn to read by associating that language knowledge with written form. All items may writes on cards. If the cards show to them, they would point the object to which it referred.

c. Reading should not depend on teaching new language or concepts

A reading program should not include the teaching of language. It would be better to teach the reading of words and structures which the child already knows. Or in other words, children are presented written items for which equivalent are already known.

About concepts, actually, this is a principle that is already followed in a Grade 1 in teaching reading to children, example, child does not know vocabulary such as eclipse, process and complex structures like passive or embedded sentences.

d. Reading should not depend on teaching writing

Based on frame page 205, Reading is not dependent on speech production or writing. Rather, reading is dependent on speech understanding and vision where the source of speech understanding is considered to be thinking and audition.

e. Learning to read should be enjoyable

It may provide instruction in the form of interesting games and activities. As a consequence, the children will not only learn to read but also want to read.

3.  A teaching program and some results

a. A four-phase teaching program

Children may be taught to read according the following four phases. Each phase involves meaningful language. The essential ideas in each phase, along with a few illustrative games and activities are offered below. (steinberg, 1980).

a) Phase 1 : Word Familiarization

The purpose of this phase is to acquaint children with the shapes of written words and to have children become aware that different spoken words of the language have different written manifestation. For instructional purposes, one may attach words card to object around the room, example; chair, television, wall, flower and table. The words should be one which the child understands.

A number of activities may be done with the word cards around the room. Three such activities, in sequential order of difficulty, are: room object pointing, word card sticking, and room object matching. In room object pointing, the child point to the written word and the object to which it is attached. In word card sticking, the child is given a word card and asked to place it on an object that is named. In Room object matching, the child is given a word card and is asked to find another like it.

b)  Phase 2 : Word Identification

In this phase, the child learns which particular written words are associated with which particular spoken words or object. For example, when seeing the written word apple in isolation the child is expected to be able to point to the object ‘apple’ (or its picture) or to say apple.

c)   Phase 3 : Phrase and Sentence Identification

This phase is similar to ‘Word Identification’ but use larger linguistic unit. The goal is for the child to read basic linguistic unit, the sentence. Example: that dog is barking at the boy.

It is best to create sentence and phrase fit the event and situations which occur in the immediate situation. For example: Diane fell.

d)     Phase 4 : Text Interpretation

Text involves the largest meaningful written linguistic unit. It consists of a sequence of two or more sentences that are related to one another. Stories and poem are prime examples of texts. As the child progress in reading text, books may have fewer pictures and more text. It is the purpose of this phase to provide children with the knowledge and skill that will enable them to read text fluently.

b. Some results of reading program

Some research did in this case as follow: With English – in the Home, With English – in the nursery school, With Japanese – in the home, With Japanese – in the nursery school.

And as Implications of results showed that the research provides evidence in support of the effectiveness the four phase teaching program and validity of the principle.

4.   Readiness and early Program

a. Readiness research

Concern with readiness, begin in 1920s (Dickson: 1923, Holmes: 1927). One of the most influential studies around that time was that of Morphett and Washburne (1931) who claimed that reading should be postponed until a mental age of 6.5 years was attained. Other reports of this period concurred (Biegelow: 1934, Dean : 1939, Witty & Kope : 1936).

      There were dissenting views. Gates and Bond (1936), found that at the end of first grade the correlation between reading achievement and mental age was only + 25. The author concluded that ‘the optimum time of beginning reading is not entirely dependent upon the nature of the child himself, but is in large measure determined by the nature of reading program’.

      Contemporary theoriest, Durkin (1970), Space (1969) and Adelman (1970) have also taken similar positions. Any special motivation for wanting to read, it might be noted here, is not an important variable for young children. Preschoolers will engage in any activity which interests them regardless of its long term goals.

b. Readiness testing

In assessing the adequacy of readiness test, a close inspection of the specific content of those tests is necessary. Gates – MacGinitie readiness Skills test, it is widely used for kindergarten and first graders. The subtest is following:

a) The listening comprehension subtest measure the child’s ability to understand the total thought of simple story.

The subtest includes 20 stories (plus sample stories), each with a corresponding panel of three pictures in the test booklet.  The examiner reads these stories aloud to the children. Each stories followed by question, and the child is to mark the one picture in each panel that best answer the question.

b) The following directions subtest measures the child’s skill in following increasingly more complex directions.

This subtest has 14 items (and a sample), consisting of one or more directions which the examiner reads aloud. Corresponding to each set of directions is a panel of four pictures to be marked by the child as he carries out the directions.

c)  The letter recognition subtest is designed to measure the child’s recognition of letter of the alphabet.

It consists of18 items (and a sample), with four letters of the alphabet in each item. The examiner names one letter which the child must recognize and mark.

d)  The visual – motor coordination subtest measures the child’s skill in complementing printed letters.

Seven letters (plus a sample) are shown as models and a part of each letter is also printed in the adjoining column. The child is to complete each letter in adjoining column.

e) The Auditory Blending subtest provides information about the child’s ability to join the parts of word, presented orally, into a whole word.

The 14 items (plus a sample), consists of three pictures in each item, saying it in two or three parts, and the child marks the corresponding picture.

c. Early Reading

The research cited above on teaching reading to preschool age children, along with the studies of Soderbergh (1971), Weeks (1981), Doman (1964), Terman (1918) and Fowler (1962), demonstrates that children can be taught to read at an early age.

      There are a numbers of important advantages of teaching reading to children in their preschool years.
  1. Reading satisfies and stimulates a child’s natural curiosity.
  2. The warm supportive informal atmosphere of the home or the preschool provides an excellent situation for learning.
  3. Young children are docile and impressionable.
  4. Young children learn quickly and easily.

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