Teach Vowel Sounds to Struggling Readers

Teaching and learning vowel sounds for English words is hard. A beginning reader must learn vowel sounds and know when to use which sound. Most older readers who struggle with reading have problems with vowel sounds.

The letter "e" is long in the word "me", but it makes the schwa sound in the word "the".
The letters "oo" make the long u sound in the word "too", but the letter "o" makes a short sound in the word "not".
 Older readers who do not know vowel sounds have found ways to get through books. These readers can anticipate words from the flow of the sentence, use picture clues to guess at words, or can remember a memorized word. These strategies work good for beginning reader books. A reader who does not know and use vowel sounds to sound out words becomes lost when picture clues go away and books get more difficult. This is why I'm a firm believer in teaching phonics from the beginning. I've worked with too many older children who guess at words or think all words can be memorized. If a child is not sounding out words, a child is not reading.

There is a special challenge helping an older reader who doesn't know vowel sounds. Phonics Pathways Simple Expercises to Improve Reading Fluency is a book that I use to help older struggling readers learn vowel sounds and more.

I'm in the middle of tutoring a friend's daughter who is in third grade. I am currently teaching her short vowel sounds. I've written a pretty good post about teaching short vowel sounds. Click HERE to find the post if you want ideas to teach short vowel sounds. I'm using many of the books you will find in my Amazon Store to teach my friend's daughter. We have been using magnetic letters, helping her hear the difference in short vowel sounds, and reading nonsense words with short vowel sounds. I'm having a great time helping my good friend's daughter. I wish I would've helped before. It makes me sad that our schools don't teach our children to "read". My daughter had problems learning to read too. I'm sure it was a direct result of too many unrelated sight words and too much guessing at words. My daughter ignored letters and looked in the air when reading. It worked fine for beginning reader books, but she fell behind her twin brother when the books started getting more difficult. Somehow her brother learned to "read" words. Many children learn to read without a lot of practicing phonics. I volunteer in my children's school and there is an absence of phonics books. A few rules are taught here and there. The lucky ones figure it out, but many are left behind not knowing how to "read".

1 comment:

judi said...

Unfortunately my son had a horrible first grade teacher. Being a teacher I watched it happen, and met with the teacher. I didn't throw enough of a fit, and I'm kicking myself now. He's in third grade and still reading at a first grade level. We are going back to the basics and starting from scratch. We really need to swing back to phonics. That is the ONLY way to make a fluent reader out of students. I'm glad someone else feels the same way I do. Your friend is lucky to have you tutoring her daughter!