Why We Need More than Phonemic Readers

A few of my past articles have addressed reading and how children learn to read. In those articles I discuss how children learn letter sounds and begin to blend sounds to create words. This is the most basic form of reading and usually takes place in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

Because blending sounds to make words is a very common practice in the early stages of reading, many books are created based around this skill. We call those books phonemic readers. In these phonemic readers the text is specially designed in order to for the children to be able to sound out all of the words.

These books can be good practice for children. They allow children to use the knowledge that they have gained and put it into practice through a book.

The problem is that many teachers only use these types of books for early reading. Children must also be exposed to other forms of books. Children need to be faced with new words that they are not familiar with and that they cannot sound out.

When faced with words such as these, teachers can create many learning opportunities. Children need to be taught the skills and techniques to discover new words. They need to be exposed to common words in everyday text.

Without the exposure children cannot and will not gain what they need for future reading experiences. As we all know the world is not completely made up of words that follow the phonemic spelling rules.

Therefore when teachers or parents are choosing books for young readers, they must choose very carefully. They want to choose books that will give the child some feeling of success. However they also want to choose books that allow for some learning opportunities and exposure to new word forms and new words.

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