Friday, 11 December 2015

READING CHALLENGES IN STUDENTS




Ability to read fluently is an art that is learnt consciously over a period of time. However, it is not fun for some students who struggle greatly with the entire process. In this regard, effort has been made to identify some of these challenges and how to tackle them.  They are:

1.      Phonological  and phonemic awareness: Phonological awareness involves identifying and manipulating units of oral language- parts such as words, syllables, etc. Here, a student is able to identify and make oral rhymes, point out the number of syllables in a word, and can recognize words with the same initial sounds like “money” and “mother”. On the other hand, phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word ‘mat’ has three phonemes: /m/, /a/, /t/. There are 44 phonemic sounds in English. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills.
2.      Decoding of words and phonics: Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. This helps students to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t  seen before. Phonics is one approach to reading instruction that teaches students the principles of letter-sound relationships, how to sound out words, and exceptions to the principles.
3.      Vocabulary: There are four types of vocabulary, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Vocabulary plays a very important role in the reading process, and contributes greatly to a  reader’s comprehension. A reader cannot understand a text without knowing what most of the words mean. You can build your vocabulary in different ways. Find books to read on your own. The more you read, the more new words you will see. Keep a list of key vocabulary and transition words.
4.      Fluency: This is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Students that have difficulty in this area  hardly enjoy reading. They sound awkward and may also have difficulty with decoding skills or they may just need more practice with speed and smoothness in reading.
5.      Comprehension:  This means  correct understanding and interpretation of what is read. Any challenge in this area will go a long way to affect the student’s ability to read smoothly. The solution: students should be able to decode what they read, make connections between what they read and what they already know and think deeply about what they have read.

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