By: Stephanie Killian
I was at a high school graduation party last weekend for one of my former kindergarten students, and I had a parent ask me about an article on phonics they had just read in the newspaper.
They had two questions: Is phonics back in style, and why do the recommendations keep changing?
I thought that sounded like a great topic for a blog post, so here we are!
Taking the second question first, sometimes the recommendations change due to new research. Sometimes, unfortunately, they change because a school system has been talked into buying new textbooks from a publisher.
One of the great things about choosing to homeschool with Dailies is that we are a group of experienced educators who are free to tailor our reading instruction to fit the students who are in front of us. We are not bound by whatever any particular school system says should be taught.
As for the first question, your child needs both phonics and whole language instruction. Phonics teaches the individual sounds and if your child knows those sounds, they can sound out words they have never seen before. Sight words need to be taught as a whole rather than their parts since they cannot be sounded out. Teachers use both of those approaches while providing context through actual reading because comprehension is important as well.
So don’t let anyone drag you into the so-called “reading wars.” No single strategy will get the job done, and the right approach is one that uses evidence-based practices and is led by a teacher who knows and respects your child and takes into account the ways each child learns best.
If you want to practice reading skills with your child at home, we are here to help!