Phonetics play crucial role in developing reading skills | HT Tech

Phonetics play crucial role in developing reading skills

By developing a computer model that mimics how children learn to read, researchers have shown that phonetics play a crucial role in development of a skilled reader.

By: ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL
| Updated on: Jul 08 2004, 20:24 IST

By developing a computer model that mimics how children learn to read, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford University have shown that phonetics play a crucial role in development of a skilled reader.

These findings suggest that teaching young children phonics not only makes learning to read easier, but also allows the flourishing of other skills that lead to faster and better reading.

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'Given the role of literacy in society it's important to understand how the process of reading works,' Mark Seidenberg, UW-Madison psychology professor and co-author of the paper, said.

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To provide a clearer picture of the reading process, Seidenberg and Michael Harm of Stanford University, designed a computer model that learns to read just like children.

'The beauty of the model is that you can test out many different ways of teaching how to read words.You can see what happens if you give the model a phonics-type experience, or if you just emphasize the connections between spelling and meaning,' Seidenberg said.

While training the model to become an efficient, skilled reader that learned to read as most children do, the researchers found that methods which included phonics produced better readers.

'It's very clear that in the early stages of beginning to read, the model - and child - learns more rapidly if the connections among spelling and sound and meaning are established,' Seidenberg explained.

'Sounding things out gradually strengthens the visual process until it becomes more efficient and does more of the work,' he added.

In addition to providing a better understanding of the reading processes the study also bridges the gap between how to teach reading and how we actually read.

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First Published Date: 08 Jul, 20:07 IST
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