Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Phonological Awareness in Play

Phonological awareness is when children are able to understand the structure of the sounds that letters and words make. This is an extremely important step in the process of learning how to read and children are exposed to it very often throughout the day. Children who are able to separate words and sounds into syllables and recognize that they have different sounds and parts are likely to be phonemically aware.
One of the best ways to work on phonological awareness with young children is by reading books that manipulate sounds and words. Using books that include a lot of onomatopoeia (which are words that make the sounds of a noise) or rhyming words allows children to really look at the break down of the letters and try to figure out what makes them sound the way that they do. Children can be asked to pick apart the words of a poem and find the ones that rhyme. They could then pick apart each rhyming word and try to discover which letters and sounds cause these certain words to rhyme. Phonological awareness is an essential part of moving forward for early readers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Kidwatching is an eye opening experience that anyone who wants to be a teacher must to. Kidwatching is learning about children by watching how they learn. Adults, especially teachers and parents, can learn so much from their children every day by simply observing them and looking to see the ways in which they teach themselves things. Because children are so new to the world, they have not yet learned the ways in which we adults have grown to do things. Everything becomes a way of simply going through the motions, and learning becomes one of these things as well. Children learn by exploring and discovering new things in all the ways that they can come up with in their imaginations. They are able to experience something new and teach themselves a new skill just by thinking about new ways to look at it.
By watching children learn and asking them to explain their thought processes, adults are able to see things from new perspectives and are also able to understand their children better. If we know more about how they think and process things, then the better we are at helping them to understand the world around them.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meaning Orientation

When children are learning how to read, they must teach themselves how to decode the jumble of letters and spaces on the page. This means taking abstract things like sounds and letters and turning them into full words that mean something. Doing this successfully is not always an easy task. After learning how to read, decoding the sounds becomes automatic and does not require or produce any thought. The words are words and we, as adults, have made connections between that mix of letters and the thing that this word stands for. Children who are just learning how to read have not yet set this automatic response, so every new word that they encounter is a new puzzle that they must decode. Once they have mastered the decoding of this new word, they must learn the meaning behind it and remember it for next time.
Some children can pick up the decoding much easier than others because as they are going through the process, they realize that they must look for meaning behind the words. They know that they have to make sense of the letters that they are putting together to form a complete thought. When children can learn how to do this, learning to read will come much easier. For the children that do not understand this concept yet, reading is difficult because each letter and sound is a separate entity. Their decoding skills look at the sounds as different things and do not automatically put them together to form something completely new. Teaching children to decode correctly is an essential part of literacy learning.