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Teaching Reading

Reading is a complex of closely interrelated skills.

A) Visual skills: focusing, figure ground, visual constancy, spatial orientation.
B) Auditory skills: listening skills, fine differentiation of speech sounds, auditory
C) Sequencing: visual, spatial, auditory sequencing, ordering, classifying.
D) The application of letter-sound rules and rapid automatic recognition of
familiar words are two very important reading skills which a child has to master
to become a skilled reader. A good reading program has to incorporate both the
phonic system instruction and word reading recognition exercises.

One of the basic building blocks of skilled reading is letter-sound translation,

learning the rules that relate particular letter to particular sounds.

A student has to learn to translate an unfamiliar printed word to speech by

decoding (sounding out). He has to learn to recognise and apply letter-sound
rules to a string of letters forming a word. The more letter-sound patterns the
student will learn the easier it will be to acquire the skill of rapid automatic
recognition of words in a text. The words that have familiar segments are easier
to remember and recall.

Reading is not always based on applying letter-sound rules to all words on a

page. Many English words disobey the standard letter-sound rules, however
some of these exception are the commonly recurring words, such as “have, do”
etc. Skilled readers learn to automatically recognise words to which they have
been frequently exposed.

Reading and spelling are symbiotic, they should be taught together. Spelling
facilitates the learning of rules and patterns thus developing phonemic

Learning to spell and read is highly successful if it is interesting, motivating and

meaningful. Printed words should be linked up with their meaningful images. As
the printed word is matched with the picture it represents, the student will
combine the two images, the word and the picture and store them in their
memory to later automatically recall the word and its meaning.

Jays’ Education literacy workbooks teach letter-sound recognition, phonemic

patterns, appreciation of common meaningful parts or roots of words with the
help of letter-sound patterns.
The workbooks help to develop the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds
that make up words. They help to make phonemic substitutions, such as:
[book - look - shook - hook] [roo - kangaroo - cockatoo] etc.

In the workbooks every word is connected to a picture which strengthens the

mental image of the word and assists the recall of the word. The letter-sound
patterns lay out the basic rules for spelling.

Focus is on what the student can do, using strategies which bring immediate

Effective phonics teaching enables students to readily recognise and produce

familiar words effortlessly and to identify and produce words that are new to
them. Developing automatic word recognition supports and enhances student’s
comprehension skills.

Students do recognise familiar letter-sound correspondences, segment and blend

simple regular words from a small group of easily taught letters so they gain
confidence and satisfaction.

Hanna Jay BSpEd BPed BLog (Sydney, Prague, Usti n Labem)