There are approximately 650 million children throughout the world who are primary school-age, and 250 million of them are unable to read or write.
Over the years, experts have debated on the best way to teach literacy that will raise achievement levels and give children the tools and confidence needed to cope and be successful in school and beyond.
Read on for more information about some of the different approaches to teaching literacy. You’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of these methods so you can choose one that works best for you and the kids you’re teaching.
For years, one of the most popular teaching literacy strategies was the Alphabetic Method. In fact, it’s been around since ancient Greek and Roman times.
This approach to literacy education involves teaching children each letter of the alphabet in order (both its name and its pronunciation). Using this method, children also learn to write each letter at the same time.
At the same time that they’re learning each letter, children also learn simple vowel and consonant combinations. For example, m + a = ma. From two-letter syllables, they go on to learn longer syllables and then, eventually, full words and sentences.
Using the Alphabetic Method, reading starts off feeling very mechanical. It can take longer for children who learn in this way to become expressive readers. It can also take longer for them to start to truly comprehend what they’re reading.
Another traditional approach is the Syllabic Method. This involves teaching children the vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) first. From here, they learn the consonants, beginning with those that are easiest for them to pronounce. This is sometimes referred to as building the syllabic bridge.
After learning the consonants, children will blend vowels and consonants to create syllables (ma, me, mi, mo, mu, etc.). Once they’ve mastered this, they’ll move on to learning more complex syllables, then words, phrases, and, eventually, sentences.
As with the Alphabetic Method, when teaching children using the Syllabic Method, reading can start out sounding very methodical. It can take quite a while before children start to read more expressively and comprehend what they’re reading.
The Phonetic Method is one of the most popular and effective methods of teaching literacy. It’s encouraged more often than other approaches.
In this style of teaching, children first learn each vowel based on their sounds. Teachers will often use figures and images that start with each letter to help children remember them, and children also learn to write vowels at the same time.
After teaching vowels, instructors will teach consonants with their sounds, using images and objects for better retention. After this, children go on to learn how to blend the sounds of consonants with the sounds of the five vowels to form simple syllables.
Once children have learned simple syllables, they should be able to learn simple words and phrases. After this, more complex concepts are taught, including inverse syllables, mixed and complex syllables, diphthongs, and triphthongs. They can then combine all of these into more complicated words and phrases.
The Phonetic Approach, which is used in many interactive literacy games, does a great job of fostering confidence. GraphoGame uses an enhanced phonetic approach called Synthetic Phonics. GraphoGame’s English version is based on research on reading by “rhyme analogy”, carried out in the 1980s and 1990s by Professor Usha Goswami. The rhyme analogy research highlighted the importance of oral awareness of linguistic “onset-rime” units in reading development. To segment a word into onset-rime units, divide at the vowel (“s-ing”, “st-ing”, “spr-ing”). Developed at the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge, the English GraphoGame focuses on rime patterns, teaching individual letter-sound correspondences within rhyming families of words.
Get Help Teaching Literacy Today
As you can see, there are lots of different ways that you can go about teaching literacy to children. Do you need help figuring out an approach that works well for your child (or the children you teach)? If so, consider giving GraphoGame a try today.
GraphoGame is a fun and evidence-based children’s literacy app. It uses Finnish methods of literacy teaching to help young children gain the skills they need to establish a solid foundation and become competent readers. It also tracks children’s progress and alerts parents or teachers so they can become aware of and work to correct potential issues right away.
Check out GraphoGame today to see how it works for your children!
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Co-founder & Head of Partnerships at GraphoGame