This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Phonetics instruction is vital as it teaches students the skills they need in order to understand the alphabetic system of english. Phonetic skills are a necessary element of beginning to teach reading and are the appropriate entry point of instruction for many poor readers.
Some students require direction in studying sounds within words before starting actual decoding and encoding instruction. Until a student understands that words can be separated into individual sounds and is able to perform tasks such as segmenting, blending and manipulating sounds within spoken words, the learner will have difficulty understanding how to use sounds and letters to read and spell words.
Phonetic instruction, for remedial purposes, should begin at the level indicated in the student's needs analysis. For example, some students may need to practice segmenting words into syllables before they are ready to learn to segment words into phonemes. When working with a group, it will be best to begin instruction at the lowest level that will meet the needs of most of the learners, even if this means reviewing skills for some students. If one or two learners are significantly below the level of the others, it may be necessary to work with these students on more basic skills.
Phonetic skills typically develop slowly during preschool and kindergarten and are usually not fully developed until after students learn to read (during grades 1 and 2). There is a shared relationship between phonetic skills and reading: i.e. students with higher levels of phonetic awareness learn to read more easily, and reading instruction enhances the further development of phonetic skills.
The typical stages of development of phonetic skills are listed below with examples of activities for each stage:
1. Sentences can be broken up into individual words - Sentence Segmentation
2. Rhyming words can be recognized and produced - Rhyming
3. Words can be broken into syllables - Syllable Segmentation
4. Words can be broken into onset and rime - Onset and rime
5. Beginning, ending and medial sounds of words can be identified - Phoneme Identification
6. Words can be segmented into individual sounds and sounds can be blended into words - Phoneme Segmentation and Blending
7. Individual sounds within words can be analyzed and manipulated - Phoneme Analysis
It must be notes, within this developmental series, that these skills are all performed orally. Additionally, students usually are able to perform tasks of recognition before production. For example, it is usually easier to tell whether or not two words rhyme than to produce a rhyme for a given word. Blending is also usually easier for students than segmenting. At stage 5 of the above sequence, the student begins examining the individual sounds of words (phonemes); stages 5-7 are often referred to as Phonemic Awareness, which is still under the “umbrella” of phonetic skills.
Sequence of Instruction
Teaching of phonetic skills should take the developmental sequence into account. Most programs designed for students in kindergarten begin with the most basic level and proceed from there. For older students, the process is not as easy since learning must be tied to assessment. The goal of learning phonetics is to prepare the student for decoding and encoding instruction. The following instructional sequence indicates the skills, which should be taught before beginning decoding instruction. It is rarely necessary to start remedial instruction for older students below the syllable level as older students begin with the phoneme level.
1. Indicate the number of syllables in words.
2. Pronounce each syllable of words.
3. Begin with compound words and progress to multisyllable words.
1. Identify words as having same or different beginning, final, and medial sounds. (Phoneme Identification)
2. Blend sounds into words.
3. Segment words into sounds.
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