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Language is essential for exchange of information among the people. It enables an individual to explore the various ways to express their likes, dislikes and needs. But to understand and learn any language, it is necessary to understand the various usage of vocabulary in different context. This usage in the everyday experiences enables an individual to develop the ability to use language as a part of daily life process. Including language as part of curriculum right from the early developmental stage of education would aid the child in learning the appropriate process and usage of language. As a part of year 1 of schooling, including the right elements of language learning would help the child to develop the appropriate norms of practicing language. Using the “Balanced” approach to reading instructions, the educator shall be able to teach the children the elements of phonics and whole language which shall eventually help develop the language related abilities of thechildren languageright from the 1st year of learning..
A balanced approach program practices both phonics and whole language. The main aim of a balanced approach is the inclusion of the strongest element of each category (Konza, 2014). As opined by (von Suchodoletz et al. 2013), the crucial elements of an of a balanced approach are- guided reading, read aloud, shared reading, reading workshop and word study. Direct instruction in word study and phonics are part of the balanced approach towards reading. Scarborough’s Reading Rope (2001) provided a detailed knowledge about reading instructions (Konza, 2014). According to him, reading is a multi-layered skill that can be acquired gradually over years under continuous instructions and practice. In addition, coordination and fluent execution of words can be achieved by two essential factors- language comprehension (vocabulary and background knowledge, verbal reasoning, language structures, literacy knowledge) and word recognition (decoding, phonological awareness, and sight recognition) (Von Suchodoletz et al. 2013).
Australian National Inquiry into the Teaching of literacy, 2005 supported the statement ‘Phonics must not become a dominant element in terms of reading nor the time given to it is significant’. Children’s reading competency level can be evaluated in many different ways (Kidd & Castano, 2013). They stated that during the first two years of children’s schooling, synthetic phonics must be used. A balanced approach provides the best model in terms of teaching practice for all students towards reading and writing at various stages for their education purpose (Von Suchodoletz et al. 2013). Currently, the use of phonics for struggling readers seems problematic as it lacks the complexity of literacy learning. Literacy is a broader view than just writing and reading the printed words as decoded and decode (Konza, 2014). The skills to ask questions, extracting the meaning from texts is much more essential towards balanced approach. The overall aim of a balanced approach to reading instructions is to develop the abilities and skills of individual children with the effective guidance of the teacher (Kidd & Castano, 2013).
National Reading Panel has developed five elements for the foundation of literacy, which Deslea Konza enhanced by adding one extra element ‘oral language and early literacy’. As stated by (Konza, 2014), if the teachers want their children to develop their reading skills and also enjoy the result of the achievement, the understanding of early literacy and oral language is desired. The six elements and the role of each element towards the importance of teachers are precisely discussed in the following sections.
The moment a child takes birth, children engages in an environment where their literacy and long-term language develops eventually due to the interactions with the different people and parents which provides the basic foundation for early literacy experience (Kidd & Castano, 2013). Children who are around higher complex conversations gains an advantage in terms of their vocabulary development of English by learning the structure of the language and recognizing the sounds (Konza, 2014). This early engagement of the children provides various aspects of language for assisting the reading development. Oral interaction increases the growth of vocabulary among children which can be done by the proper hearing of words (Von Suchodoletz et al. 2013). Children aging from two to six have a direct impact on their reading ability later as their vocabulary increases with the efficient interaction. Children at preschool with higher receptive vocabularies have the ability of better reading comprehension, word recognition and listening comprehension. Interaction with rich language users enables children to learn different structures of language and also increases the vocabulary (Perfetti, 2013). The basic foundation of children in terms of appropriate use of grammar for sentence framing is desired for their reading ability. Oral languages also develop the pragmatics of English language for efficient communication desired at different purposes and places. The use of excuse me, please and other behavioral languages are well build by the efficient use of oral language (Konza, 2014).
The contributions of Oral languages for teachers are evident from the fact that to develop the abilities and skills of reading among children at early stage efficient guidance is desired. As put forward by, children those are admitted to pre-school tend to listen to the teacher which leads to developing their own skills (Kidd & Castano, 2013). The teachers must read stories aloud so that the children can learn the rich English vocabularies which in turn will help them to build sentence appropriately. Through this element, teachers can identify the desired knowledge required to develop the abilities of children at an early age.
This element refers to the ability in terms of the sound of spoken language without considering its meaning (Perfetti, 2013). Children tend to hear and learn the words that are being spoken around them, hence rich vocabularies of English is needed. Literally, they follow the phonological system- individual phonemes to construct words, patterns of intonation and most importantly rhythm (Konza, 2014). It is basically the oral language that enhances the means, opportunity, and context for phonological skills. As put forward by, children aging three to four tend to follow the noises or sound around them which help to develop their listening ability (Perfetti, 2013). Parents and teachers use various sounds to symbolize the word such as cow make the sound ‘moo’ which develops awareness among children that cow is not a word but an animal (Foy & Mann, 2013). The phonemic awareness that takes place in ore school increases the future reading ability of each child (Kidd & Castano, 2013). Coarticulation is a process where the child finds difficult to separate words as the words spoken around them are fluent which they cannot recognize by sound (Perfetti, 2013). However, coarticulation is a helpful process for increasing the speed of reading among children and their sense of understanding also increases (Foy & Mann, 2013). If children do not recognize or understand the separate sounds of words then they tend to draw pictures to understand which in turn will enhance their future reading ability (Kidd & Castano, 2013).
Teachers must comprehend the link between oral languages and future reading development for developing the oral skills among children and also to assist the children who are lagging behind (Konza, 2014). Narrating nursery rhymes to children will increase their phonological skills which in turn will help to understand the alphabetical code of the rhyme (Perfetti, 2013). Hence, teachers have an integral role towards the development of the reading skills among children (Kidd & Castano, 2013).
Once the children are able to learn that words can be separated by sounds then they need to learn the relationship between words and sound and needs to map them on paper which is known as alphabetic code (Konza, 2014). If the children have to become independent leader then decoding step is essential as the relationship of sounds and words must be understood (Perfetti, 2013). The link between decoding process and oral language skills is a bit unclear in comparison with other elements of Big Six, however as argued by, when children start the process of de-coding they understand the concept of vocabulary which enables them to frame a sentence that fits in place (Foy & Mann, 2013). The empirical evidence assists synthetic approach towards teaching phonics to struggling and beginning readers that teach common letter and single letter combinations in an explicit way from the start of the formal schooling (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). As soon as an individual child learns to blend the letters together for constructing a word, they tend to practice synthesizing the sound together (Konza, 2014). Blending and pulling the sounds of languages enables the children to learn the basic concept of reading and writing. Once the children attain the blending process, they tend must be provided with short decodable books to implement their blending skills (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). This process is relevant for the children who cannot learn the relationship of words and sound efficiently. Decodable texts oppose the concept of synthetic approach as it opposes the use of high predictable text in the books (Kidd & Castano, 2013). Children at this stage are able to understand the texts and words of the books which become an additional point towards a letter-sound relationship. With the early practice of de-caodable text, children tend to develop the early skills which led them to understand the meaning of each word (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013).
The teachers must extend the sound-letter knowledge into upper and middle primary school to teach the spelling rules and more advanced content. Rapid word recognition is the main of teaching letter-sound knowledge (Kidd & Castano, 2013). It is essential to enhance the comprehension and fluency of each child which enables recognition which in turn leads to reading comprehension (Hoff, 2013). The teachers must focus on developing the phonics and teaching letter-sound knowledge as it helps to develop the future reading ability of each child (Kidd & Castano, 2013).
The relationship between reading comprehension and vocabulary was recognized many years ago (Hoff, 2013). The report of NRP gained teachers attention towards the significance of vocabulary in terms of reading comprehension and reading acquisition (Petersen et al. 2013). Transforming the letters into words without any reasonable meaning by decoding is useless; hence vocabulary knowledge is the key element of comprehension (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). If the children understand the meaning of each word then it would help them to use it in framing the structure of the sentence (Hoff, 2013). Vocabulary can be enhanced by engaging the children with the exposure of new words in a sentence by media, listening stories (Petersen et al. 2013). Different children group will have different output in terms of this indirect learning process (Petersen et al. 2013). However, children who are engaged in rich vocabulary environment tend to develop more sense in forming words and framing sentences which increase their competency level in school (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). These children have additional advantage as they acquire reading skills at early stages. As stated by, children with low literacy background will have fewer vocabulary words which will be a disadvantage for them in future (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). They tend to have less opportunity in using their reading skills to enhance further vocabulary (Petersen et al. 2013). As opined by (Hoff, 2013), oral language skills can develop the vocabulary of each child and is evident in terms of children of different grades. Direct instruction is more effective than indirect vocabulary development as it helps to lessen the gap between various groups of children (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013).
The teachers must use the vocabulary knowledge to the children at primary school as children tend to grow substantially in this important area by enhancing their knowledge of words and towards framing new sentences (Petersen et al. 2013). Teachers need to use appropriate words and sound in front of the children as the students tend to grasp the sounds and words to increase their vocabulary knowledge which will help them in future reading skills.
After attaining the blending knowledge and phonological awareness, children tend to develop their reading skills by understanding the meaning of each word while framing them into a sentence (Lonigan et al. 2013). Fluency is the point where the component skills are highly integrated into children to focus on meaning (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). There are three elements of fluency. The first one is accuracy where the children separate the word to form actual meaning. The fluent reader uses the recognizable word rather than using the irregular frequency of words (Kidd & Castano, 2013). Mental lexicon of the words is desired to keep the words in mind children needs to understand the meaning of each word which can be achieved by the process of vocabulary and oral language in terms of reading process (Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick, 2013). The more the words will be understandable by a reader the more fluent will be the reading skills. The high competent reader will not be fluent if the understanding of each word is achieved and can never be a part of the reader’s mental lexicon (Hoff, 2013). The second element is the rate by which a reader can access the linked text (Lonigan et al. 2013). For basic comprehension, the rate required is around ninety to hundred words per minute which can be achieved by the end of year 2 (Petersen et al. 2013). The children at this stage tend to understand and read simple text. The rate is the core component in terms of fluency towards reading comprehension and reading accuracy (Petersen et al. 2013). The third element is reading with expression, it integrates rhythm, phrasing, pitch and stress. Low prosody will lead to confusion to the reader due to low understanding of words (Lonigan et al. 2013). As stated by (Lonigan et al. 2013), prosody has a direct impact on reader’s motivation and interest in terms of reading comprehension (Petersen et al. 2013). In a survey of two groups of students- grade 2 and 5, grade 2 has a clear understanding of phonological awareness and vocabulary knowledge as English was their first language whereas grade 5 groups have broader language skills with the various grammatical structure as they were English language learners (Petersen et al. 2013).
Hence, the teacher must focus on enhancing phonological awareness and vocabulary knowledge for developing the reading skills and fluency of children (Hoff, 2013).
Good readers are purposeful as they have the knowledge of each word while increasing the vocabulary knowledge for framing a sentence (Petersen et al. 2013). They are able to read instructions as well as telephone numbers and also can take notes that are desired in an assignment (Lonigan et al. 2013). Good readers are aware of the purpose of reading. As opined by (Petersen et al. 2013), good readers know the purpose of the text; hence, they are aware of the words they speak at the right place (Lonigan et al. 2013). Good readers engage actively with the text, they differentiate details from the major content, confirms predictions asks questions wherever desired (Hoff, 2013). They use strategies to note down the information such as prepares mental images, take notes, uses a dictionary to create new information (Petersen et al. 2013). This helps the competent reader to extract meaning from the text and to remember critical information (Hoff, 2013).
Reading comprehension needs all the components of reading including oral language (Lonigan et al. 2013). Hence, the teacher must focus on all the components of reading skills for the beginners to develop their reading skills efficiently in future (Petersen et al. 2013).
Each element of Big 6 plays an integral part for a balanced literacy program(Lonigan et al. 2013). To teach Year 1 class, each element has to be made effective for developing the skills of the individual child (Konza, 2014).
Oral language and early literacy experiences
Using the Big 6 plan, the oral and early literacy experiences can be utilised to improve the language proficiency among the children belonging to the year 1 of education plan. It would enable them to understand that different people cater differentsystems of communications skillsto convey their needs and thoughts. Sometimes signs are also used as a part of communication plan. These signs include the various gestures and facial expressions(Konza, 2014). The use of various visual, facial expressions, verbal, and body language will enable a person to express the various emotions.
The phonological awareness would enable the children in separating the various consonants clusters into phonemes in words with one syllable (Saygin et al. 2013). The child can also be taught to manipulate the phonemes used in the spoken words by the process of substitution or deletion or addition of new phonemes that would enable them in generating new words.
The children shall be taught the use of various long and short vowels in association with consonants that would enable them to learn and read one-syllable words. The children shall also be taught that to have a syllable in a word, there must exist at least one vowel sound. The children shall also be taught the spellings of various words that would improve their vocabulary(Hoff, 2013).
The children shall be taught the usage of various words as a part of everyday activity to enhance their vocabulary. They shall also be taught the various terms and their relation in accordance to informal and formal usage (Lonigan et al. 2013). There are various words in the vocabulary that can be used in several ways, depending on the tone they are being said, that is either formal or informal.
The fluency of the children regarding the language can be improved by taking regular assessments of their performances so that the educator would get an idea regarding the achievement of the children in regards with learning. These assessments can be carried out via oral test or written tests. Teaching the children to read out sentences by breaking them into smaller fragments shall also enable them to attain fluency(Saygin et al. 2013).
Allowing the children to read texts out loud would enhance the comprehension ability of the children. The children can be engaged in activities that involve them to read out texts in a group. This would encourage the children to present themselves better thereby improving their comprehension skills(Hoff, 2013).
WA Curriculum: In this descriptor, the children can be taught through imaginative, persuasive and informative texts (Hoff, 2013). They need to understand the meaning of each word for structuring the sentence grammatically (Konza, 2014). Decodable texts can be helpful to guide them at this stage. Making them re-read the text will develop their phonic knowledge(Saygin et al. 2013).
Plan:The children can be provided with pictographic study materials that would create interest in them regarding the task and the visual elements provided would also enhance their imaginative abilities.
WA Curriculum: In this descriptor, child has to enhance their letter-sound ability by hearing words and making an image in their head for proper understanding(Saygin et al. 2013). Showing them images or diagrams and using prompt words can help develop their reading ability which will lead to fluency (Hoff, 2013). Making them understand about different structure of letters to form various words will be helpful (Konza, 2014). Their listening and viewing ability has to be enhanced for better formation of words(Saygin et al. 2013).
Plan:The children can be provided with articles and materials that would enhance the visual effects regarding the subject at hand. This would also help them to grasp and memorise the idea better as it is easier to retain visual elements better.
WA Curriculum:This descriptor will enable to make the children understand the difference between one and two syllables by using common letter patterns (Konza, 2014). This can be done by showing them words in books and making them understand the difference between each of them(Saygin et al. 2013).
Plan:The children can be made to understand the difference between one syllable and two syllable words by providing them with word books that contains pronunciation of words in the form of images.
WA Curriculum:In this descriptor, the children will be taught about grammatical morphemes to form various words (Konza, 2014). This can be achieved by showing them the meaning of each word and how does it sound so that they can separate each word(Saygin et al. 2013).
Plan:the grammatical morphemes can be taught to the children by teaching them the meaning of every word and connecting them with real life objects that surround them.
WA Curriculum:Substituting the letter of p, t, d and developing words in front of them will enable them to understand more precisely about the meaning of each word (Konza, 2014). This will help them to develop new words and can gain more reading knowledge (Hoff, 2013).
Plan:The children can be taught to develop new meaningful words by providing them with images of articles that can be interpreted easily thereby developing the words by themselves.
WA Curriculum:Showing the use of vowels and consonants blends by writing will increase their vocabulary words. They will gain knowledge about single syllable words. Communicating effectively will develop their listening ability too for proper reading (Konza, 2014).
Plan:Engaging the children in group activities that involve them to interact with each other using single syllable words would enhance their knowledge regarding these words.
WA Curriculum:Following ACELA 1458, the children can learn the use of vowel in a syllable and also can recognize that each letter can sound differently (Konza, 2014). Guiding them with each letter in terms of sound can make them understand the usage of a letter to form appropriate words (Hoff, 2013).
Plan:The children can be provided with alphabet cubes and related items that they can use in group activities to develop and understand the usage of each letter for creating words that involves including both consonants and vowels.
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