Read the text and fill the gaps with the correct sentences A-H. Write the letter of the missing sentence in the box in the gap. There are two extra sentences you will not need.
What is systematic, explicit phonics instruction, and why is it important?
Connecting printed letters on a page to written sounds isn’t intuitive. While some young children may make those connections themselves, most do not. One set of studies from 1989-90 illustrates this phenomenon well. 1. __________ These children didn’t already know their letter names.
Then, the researchers tested whether the children could transfer their knowledge to reading a new word. They gave them the word “fun,” and asked whether the word was “fun” or “bun.” Very few of the students could do this successfully. 2. __________.
But children could succeed on this task if they were first given some explicit instructions. When children were taught how to recognize that certain letters represented certain sounds, and taught how to segment words to identify those individual letters and sounds, they had much greater success on the original transfer test. 3. __________ When learning how to read new words in an unfamiliar made-up language, participants had more long-term success if they were first taught which symbols correspond to which sounds, than if they tried to remember words as wholes. 4. __________ Readers taught to connect print to meaning directly could recall words initially more quickly, but less accurately; readers taught to connect print to sound and then to meaning read aloud more quickly and correctly, better recalled the correct meanings of words, and transferred their knowledge to new words.
Decades of research has shown that explicit phonics instruction benefits early readers, but particularly those who struggle to read.
5. __________ It’s what reading expert Keith Stanovich in 1986 dubbed the “Matthew Effect in Reading,” after the Bible verse in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer: “The combination of deficient decoding skills, lack of practice, and difficult materials results in unrewarding early reading experiences that lead to less involvement in reading-related activities,” Stanovich wrote. 6. __________
A. Neuroscience research has since confirmed and helped explain these findings.
B. In one series of experiments, Stanford University neuroscientist Bruce McCandliss and his colleagues made up a new written language and taught three-letter words to students either by asking them to focus on letter sounds or on whole words.
C. In these studies, conducted by Brian Byrne and Ruth Fielding-Barnsley, researchers taught young children between ages 3 and 5 to read whole words aloud, like “fat” and “bat.”.
D. That’s because small strengths or deficits at the start of reading compound over time.
E. They couldn’t break down the original word into phonemes and then transfer their knowledge of those phonemes to a new word.
F. “Lack of exposure and practice on the part of the less-skilled reader delays the development of automaticity and speed at the word recognition level. Slow, capacity-draining word-recognition processes require cognitive resources that should be allocated to comprehension. Thus, reading for meaning is hindered; unrewarding reading experiences multiply; and practice is avoided or merely tolerated without real cognitive involvement.”
G. Brain imaging of these readers finds that the two teaching strategies tap into different neural pathways in the brain.
H. Those who had been taught to focus on whole words had more activity on the right side of the brain, which has been characteristically associated with adults and children who struggle with reading.
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