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Ways of Teaching Reading

Teachers usually teach reading either by using phonics or whole language, or both.

Ways of teaching reading
Teachers teach reading in many ways. They may teach reading by using phonics, whole language or guided reading. They may also teach reading in a different way.

Phonics is a way of reading that focuses on hearing. Children make a connection between the words they see and how those words sound:

  • First, children hear how letters sound.
  • Then they repeat the letters of the alphabet.
  • They learn to put those letters together to form words.
  • They "sound out" the letters of the word.
  • Then they learn what the word means.
  • Last, they put the words into sentences.

Phonics is harder for children with hearing loss. But, many children with hearing loss can understand how a word sounds. They can also understand how a word looks when it's written.

Whole Language
Whole language is a way of reading that focuses on seeing. Children learn to read first. Then they learn how to say and spell the words the right way.

  • First, children look at the whole word.
  • Then they learn the meaning of the word.
  • They learn about the letters that make up the word.
  • Last, children learn how to sound out the words.

With whole language, what the word means is more important than how to spell it.

To understand the differences between the two ways of reading, look at the word "telephone":

Whole language
telephone = tele + phonetelephone = tell + la + fone

Guided Reading
Guided reading uses different activities to increase a child's reading ability. There are different approaches to guided reading. Most of them use these three activities:

  • Prereading activities: Children are shown words and ideas that will be used in the reading.
  • Silent and oral reading: By themselves or in groups, children read the story.
  • Postreading activities: Children do activities that help them to understand what they read.

Guided reading can use ideas from the whole language or phonics approach. Guided reading helps children understand what they are reading.

Next: How children with hearing loss learn to read.

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