Word Identification Strategies: Phonics From a New Perspective, Third Edition

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9780131100992: Word Identification Strategies: Phonics From a New Perspective, Third Edition

Acknowledging that phonics is a necessary tool for helping children become independent readers, this practical, up-to-date book ensures readers learn strategies supported by current research—helps ready future teachers for today's standards-based educational system and the expectations of administrators, parents, and others. This book incorporates current best practices in phonemic awareness, word families, letter-sound patterns, and multi-letter groups into 96 practical, research-based activities. Coverage addresses the needs of children who have difficulty identifying words in context, as well as those whose first language is not English. By focusing on transferable teaching strategies rather than rote letter/sound learning, this book reshapes how future teachers will introduce this critical component of reading to tomorrow's classrooms. For prospective teachers of grades K-5.

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

When I began writing the first edition more than 10 years ago, we were in the midst of a debate about the role, function, and contribution of phonics in learning to read. Phonics is still a hot button. While most educators agree that children need to learn how our alphabetic writing system works, the bone of contention is how much time and energy teachers should put into phonics.

The perspective I take in this book is that we cannot afford not to teach phonics, but we cannot afford to overdo it either. Phonics is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Children learn phonics so they can read and learn new words and, in so doing, build a large fluent reading vocabulary. The goal of all approaches to teaching reading is for children to become independent readers. Phonics is a necessary tool in achieving this universal goal.

Core Beliefs About What Makes a Good Phonics Teacher

From my perspective, a good phonics teacher knows how the letter patterns of phonics match the sounds in words. A good teacher understands and knows how to teach the prefixes, suffixes, syllables, and other multiletter groups in the structure of long words. Also important for good teaching is understanding how children develop competence in reading new words, and the strategies children use at different stages in their development as readers. A good teacher understands that a balanced classroom reading program provides phonics instruction in proportion to children's needs.

Who Will Benefit From Reading This Book: This book is for kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers getting ready to enter the classroom for the first time, and for practicing teachers who already have classroom experience. This book offers a comprehensive, easy-to-understand explanation of what children do when they first begin to pay attention to print, how children learn and use the letter-sounds of phonics, and the contribution that knowledge of the prefixes, suffixes, and syllables in word structure makes to building a large reading vocabulary. It offers a theory-based, developmental perspective on teaching word identification, and describes teaching activities that are consistent with this theoretical perspective.

What Principles Guide Phonics Teachers: The first guiding principle is that learning to read new words unfolds in a predictable developmental sequence that begins long before children ever pay attention to the specific words in books, and ends when children rapidly, accurately, and effortlessly recognize all the words in everyday reading. The second guiding principle is that we teach children how our writing system works so that they can develop a large fluent reading vocabulary and, ultimately, become independent readers. Children may begin kindergarten with only the foggiest knowledge of our writing system, but they leave fifth grade with a wide and rich body of words that they recognize quickly, accurately and effortlessly. A third and final principle is that ultimately successful teaching is measured by children's ability to learn new words on their own, to read independently, to easily recognize many different words, and to focus their attention on comprehension.

New in This Edition

Each bulleted item describes a new few feature for this third edition.

  • We have learned a good deal more about how to effectively teach word identification in kindergarten through fifth grade since the last edition, and so this edition includes a section in chapters solely devoted to best practices.
  • New teaching activities have been added to help teachers implement best practices in their classrooms, and the explanations of the teaching activities have been refined to make them easy to apply in any classroom setting.
  • Also new in this edition are descriptions of the different ways in which children show their teachers that they are aware of the rhymes and sounds in language.
  • And because word identification is successful only when children identify words that fit the reading context, chapter 4 includes a new section on how to help children cross-check, self-monitor, and self-correct when reading new words.

What the Reader o f This Book Will Learn About Teaching Word Identification

Readers of this book will learn about the different word identification strategies children use to read new words and also how to effectively teach these strategies. Chapter 1 considers the proper place of phonics in a balanced reading program, the cues children use to read new words, and the stages for learning new words and spelling. Chapter 2 explains the sequence in which phonemic awareness develops, best teaching practices, 14 activities to teach rhyme awareness, 17 activities to teach phonemic awareness, and tests for assessing children's phonemic awareness.

Chapter 3 explains the very first strategies children use when reading new words, and best practices for teaching children who are progressing through the first two word-learning stages. Chapter 4 explores how children use the letter patterns in known words to read unknown words; how to help children cross-check, self-monitor, and self-correct; 6 research-based best teaching practices; and 20 activities for teaching rimes and onsets. Chapter 5 describes the letter-sound strategy, the letter-sound patterns of phonics, a sequence for teaching letter-sound patterns, the proper way to use decodable books, 10 best teaching practices, and 23 easy and effective activities for developing knowledge of letter and sound relationships. Chapter 6 explains the multiletter groups readers use to identify long words; best practices for teaching prefixes, suffixes, and syllables; and 22 activities for developing knowledge of multiletter chunks in the structure of words. The last chapter, chapter 7, focuses on children who may benefit from extra help and consideration because they are not yet successful at reading new words on their own or because they speak a language other than English at home.

This book is a ready reference for teachers in every elementary grade. In taking a developmental approach to word identification, it gives teachers the information they need to match what is taught to what children need to learn. I hope that the cross-grade developmental perspective combined with the new additions to this revision will support effective teaching in every grade. The ultimate objectives are, after all, developing children's ability to read new words and enabling their steady progress toward becoming accomplished readers who instantly recognize all the words they read in everyday text.

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