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(Adapted from “Techniques for Teaching Beginning-Level Reading to Adults” by Ashley Hager, Focus on Basics 5 (A), August 2001) One of the most successful approaches to teaching word pronunciation and developing stronger reading skills is to teach a learner to decode words with the use of phonemic awareness skills. These skills teach sounds association with letter combinations and introduce pattern recognition was a way to anticipate sounds in unfamiliar words. For adults, one of the suggested systems to begin teaching phonemic skills is the Wilson Reading System. This method begins with by teaching nine syllable types, or templates, which words can be compared against. The Wilson Reading System Syllable Types Closed Syllable (vc/cv) - One vowel per syllable - Ends with one or more consonants - The vowel has a short sound - Examples: Cat - kăt Math - măth Flash - flăsh Fatten - făt'n In each of the examples, the short sound of the letter a is not changed by the following letter or syllables. In the last exaple, “fatten,” two syllables are created because the two vowels, a and e, voice independent sounds. (In this case the e is blended with the n). Vowel-Consonant-E Syllable (vce) - One vowel, then a consonant, then an e - The first vowel has a long sound - The E is silent - Examples: Cape - kāp Craze - krāz Bathe - bāth Famed - fāmd In these examples, the presence of the vowel e, changes the sound of the vowel a to a long sound. The words continue to be single syllables because there is no additional vowel sound voiced by e. Open Syllable (v/cv) or (vc/v) - One vowel - Ends with the vowel - Vowel has a long sound - Examples: Me - mē So - sō
Flu - flü Why – hwī or wī These examples demonstrate how the vowel, written independently, is voiced in the long form. These words may be difficult for low level learners at first, as there is not clue (such as an “e” at the end of the word) that indicates that the vowel is long. (I tried to think of “a” words but none came to mind.) R-Controlled Syllable - One vowel, followed by an r - Vowel sound is neither short nor long - Vowel sound is controlled by the r - Examples: Car - kär Sharp - shärp Marred - märd Pardon - pär'dn In these examples, the sound voice by the vowel a is blended into the consonant r. The sound is neither long nor short, as is indicated in the different pronunciation denotations. The Consonant-LE Syllable - Has three letters: a consonant, an “l” - The letter e is silent - The consonant and the “l” are blended together - Examples: Ladle - lād'l Prattle - prăt'l Gamble - gām'bəl Table - tā'bəl In these examples, the vowel a is voice differently: a short a for “prattle”and a long a for “ladle,” “gamble” and “table.” In the second syllables of each word, the e is not stressed and is silent when pronounced in the vernacular. The Double Vowel Syllable - Two vowel sounds side-by-side making one sound - Usually, the first vowel is long and the second is silent - Examples: May - mā Paid - pād Leaf - lēf Goat - gōt Following the rule, these examples demonstrate the voiced and silent roles of vowels in the double vowel syllable. In the first two examples, the vowel a is voiced in the long sound because it is the first vowel. In the second two exaples, the vowel a is the second vowel in the pair and is silent. With these rules in mind, let’s use the rules to decode some of the vocabulary in the passage, “So Many Holidays, So Little Time!” We’ll look at some suggested activities for low level, intermediate, and advanced learners.
So Many Holidays, So Little Time
Right after Halloween, stores in the United States change their decorations and their window displays. Gone are the pumpkins, goblins, and ghosts. In their place, shoppers find candy canes, bright lights, wrapping paper, tinsel and giant stockings. Stores are getting ready for Christmas! With all of the ornaments, nativity sets, and trees on display, many people forget that Christmas isn’t the only holiday celebrated in December. In fact, there are many holidays celebrated in December and while these holidays are all very different, all of the holidays remind us to be hopeful and thankful everyday. Traditionally, December is the month in which Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is celebrated. Over eight nights, families light the candles in a menorah and remember the miracle at the Temple of Jerusalem, when a tiny bit oil let a candle burn for eight nights. On December 12th and 16th, Christians celebrate the miracles of the Virgin of Guadelupe and St. Lucia. The Virgin of Guadelupe is very important to Mexican people, while St. Lucia is remembered for remaining faith even under great torture. On December 26th, African-American families begin the celebration of Kwanzaa. Families light candles in a kinara and recall the seven principles of a good life. Finally, on December 31st, people all across the United States, and across the world, celebrate the end of one year and the start of a new one. On New Year’s Eve, people make resolutions for a better life and celebrate with family and friends. As you can see, December is a month filled with fun and celebration! And most importantly, December is a month where it is important to spend time with the people you love.
So Many Holidays, So Little Time Pre-Reading Activity Ask the learner: - which holidays they like to celebrate - who they celebrate with - what traditions they like Look at a calendar and mark when some of the holidays take place. Before Reading Activity Look at the title of the passage and read it out loud. Ask the student to make predication about what they think the title of the passage might mean. Introduce vocabulary. For beginning students, this could be a set of words with one vowel or one or two vowel sounds such as: A Short A/ Long A List: holiday, decoration, display, candy cane (or individually, as candy and canes), wrapping paper (or individually), are, ornament, nativity, thankful, everyday, celebrate, family, miracle, remain, faith, great, candle, state, make Read each word with the student. Pronounce the word carefully, stressing the sound of the “a”. Look at the syllable types and decide together if the sound is a short a, a long a, or an “ar.” Divide the words into categories and help the student identify which letters make the sounds: a + silent e, ar, ea, ai, etc. Read through the list again, emphasizing the targeted sound, and ask the student to repeat the word. Concentrate only on pronouncing the /a/ sound correctly. During Reading Activity Because this piece is being read for accuracy, not fluency, it might be helpful to your learner if you read the piece together the first time. Reading together allows you, as the tutor, to set the pace and continue to move the reading forward. Begin by asking your learner to read with you. You both begin reading the piece out loud. To help the learner, run your finger under the words. Pause only when you are reading a targeted vocabulary word and listen for correction pronunciation. After you have read the piece together, ask your learner to read part of the piece independently. Check that the targeted vocabulary is pronounced correctly, and allow time for the learner to decode words.
To read for fluency and comprehension, return to the piece. Read to the learner and stop to discuss ideas from the pre-reading exercises. After Reading Activity Return to the predictions made before reading. Discuss whether or not you were successful. Reread the vocabulary list with the learner. Ask the learner to pronounce words again, targeting words where difficulties still exist. Ask your learner to write a paragraph reflecting on the passage or the holiday theme. Ask the learner to incorporate a certain number of vocabulary words in the writing (maybe 5 words, or one vocabulary word per sentence). When the learner is finished, ask him or her to read the piece out loud. Ask the learner to continue to practice the vocabulary for the next meeting, and begin the next meeting with a review.
So Many Holidays, So Little Time Vocabulary List ă, ā and ä are candle candy cane celebrate decoration display everyday faith family great holiday make miracle nativity ornament remain state thankful wrapping paper