THE ART of SOUNDING OUT

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  [A note from Philip, editor of the Fitzroy Readers materials]

 

 Discussing the art of SOUNDING OUT

 

There is never-ending debate amongst teachers about the best way to teach children how to read. There’s the major divide between phonics and whole-word. And then there’s varying practices within the phonic approach as to how best to SOUND OUT a word.

 

For example:            

do we say       sh! o! p!    says     shop       where sh!  is  SHORT and VOICED

or

do we say       shhh o! p!    says    shop    where shhh  is  CONTINUED & UNVOICED?

 

We at Fitzroy Readers are very familiar with this whole discussion about methods of sounding out.  We do not take a hard line, but include alternative approaches, used by different teachers.  Some teachers use one style for children who are learning to speak English, and another for children who can already PRONOUNCE what they are learning to READ.

When we supply our FITZROY SOUNDS package, which teaches beginners the basic sounds of the letters, we include TWO AUDIOS with the package: one using all the SHORT and VOICED style and the other using CONTINUED and UNVOICED sounds where possible.  We let teachers choose according to their preference, or according to their students’ needs.

The science of PHONETICS carefully isolates the sounds of each word.  The f!  sound is, on its own, CONTINUOUS and UNVOICED: fff.  When teaching children who do not speak English at home, it may help to follow phonetics and slowly sound out the word fish as    fff i shhh.  This requires their close attention. Beware, fff sounds very much the same as thhh.  The children need to see your face.

With native English speakers, who already know how to say fish, some teachers find it easier to say f! i sh!  – very audible in a big classroom.  These children will never mispronounce fish.  While phonetics is the precise SCIENCE of speech sounds, phonics is the practical ART of teaching children how to convert the written word most efficiently to the spoken word.  

 

P.S.  When we supply our FITZROY READERS SOFTWARE, we include (in Teacher Settings) FOUR options for the program to sound out words!

They are called TRADITIONAL, CONVENTIONAL, STRICTLY PHONETIC and THE FITZROY METHOD (the default setting).