By: Teacher Angela Tarroza, Pre-K Teacher
Learning is a continuous process; we learn through our experiences, and through the things we have yet to encounter. We also have the ability to simply learn and unlearn ideas that will help us improve in our craft. As a teacher, it is essential that I also acknowledge the fact I learn learn from my students who are bursting with different personalities. They make me realize that we should embrace each other and our unique different selves. And when it comes to Reading and reading well, each child uses her own approach.
Having gone through the Multisensory Approach training last year, I was able to apply and validate the simplest, yet logical strategy to help students read and decode words accurately and that is to focus on the phonetic sounds of the letters. Basic but important and this is my key takeaway from the training. Prioritizing the sounds of the letters comes first and the letter letter name comes second as the former is more useful and efficient for students. It makes perfect sense because the phonetic sounds are applied when a child reads and not the names of the letters. When a child spells, this is when the letter names are involved. However, I cannot stress the importance of teaching both the sound and the name as they always go hand in hand.
The goal of the Multisensory Approach training is to help intervene struggling readers, especially those students who have Dyslexia by giving explicit instruction and drills. Having this in mind, I would like to think that I was able to assist my students more in enhancing their reading capabilities. I can still vividly remember how our trainor, Ms. Fides Lladoc-Mendoza jokingly said “You cannot teach reading or be a reading specialist if you do not know the alphabet knowledge.” And this emphasizes knowing the right way to produce letter sounds which I have explicitly taught my students bearning in mind the common mispronounced sounds like:
“ma” for /m/ correct sound is “mmm”
“ya” for /y/ correct sound is “yee”
“ooh” for /û/ correct sound is “uh”, so on and so forth.
These misconceptions are commonly passed on to children so this is where consistent drills and emphasis on the sounds come in. Drills involve chants, songs, visuals, one-on-one reading drills, and explicit, repeating instructions to establish consistency are some of the many interventions to scaffold a child’s reading ability. These methods are best experienced by children when the five senses are involved. The knowledge about this also helps educators and other child care providers to discriminate learning materials and determine what is correct and appropriate when teaching Phonics and Reading.
A concrete example would be this: Among the words or pictures that begin with letter C, generally, students will color the pictures of the cat, car or chair. However, “chair” cannot be included because it begins with the digraph “ch” and not the sound of C. When students are shown pictures of an apple, airplane, and astronaut, the students will identify all the words/pictures as beginning letters of Aa but it must be explained that although “airplane” begins with the letter Aa, it begins with the /â/ sound.
I am glad that I was able to exercise this with the students I have handled and I was able to see the difference; it was easier for me to teach blending and reading to them better than ever, not to mention decoding nonsense words as well as eradicating guessing and memorizing of words.
Thank you for reading up to this point and I hope that I was able to share something important so you may also apply the same method at home with your child.