Guest post from easyreadsystem.com
With Synthetic Phonics systems in place in most classrooms, many more children are picking up literacy with relative ease. However, 20% of children reach age 11 and are not able to pass a reading test. Many children are still not grasping phonics.
Children, like everyone, have different learning styles. We all naturally use the parts of the brain that work best for us. The more we use those parts, the more they develop, to the detriment of other areas. When this scientific truth is applied to literacy, it can have a dangerous result. Visual learners seem to be at particular risk when it comes to reading, though at first this risk may be well hidden. Children with this visual learning style will usually succeed in early literacy tasks, like learning the alphabet and simple words through sight-memorization and repetition. Both of these methods appeal to their brain’s highly engaged visual capacity.
But they are using a technique that will eventually fail them.
As the text gets more complex they can no longer reliably use their sight memory or the context as a trigger and so they begin to guess very wildly. Meanwhile many of their classmates are progressing while they struggle and their confidence eventually collapses.
Most reading recovery schemes are an intensive application of the same learning approach that has already failed, using a “do more of the same” philosophy.
In contrast, it’s important to play to the strengths of these children by using their bright visual processing cortex as a tool to teach. As an example, by presenting dyslexic children with visually memorable characters which reflect phonemes (sounds) which can then serve as tools to decode words – instead of memorizing the shape of the words themselves – you can turning abstract information (such as the phonemes) into something the children can grasp and hang on to in their visual cortex.
Through decoding practice, children are weaned off their habit of jumping to a guess, and instead are taught to scan each word to match the letter patterns with the sound patterns.
David Morgan struggled to read for years as a child, as did his own children. After a decade of research, he is now CEO of the Easyread System, an online phonics course that offers guaranteed solutions for struggling readers and poor spellers.
***I am not getting paid for this post. Sarah from Easyread System contacted me and asked if I accepted guest blog submissions. I thought it was a good article, so here it is.***