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Beginning Reading And Phonological Awareness For Students With Learning Disabilities

Learning to read begins well before the first day of school. When Ron and Donna tell nursery rhymes to their baby, Mia, they are beginning to teach Mia to read. They are helping her to hear the similarities and differences in the sounds of words. She will begin to manipulate and understand sounds in spoken language, and she will practice this understanding by making up rhymes and new words of her own. She will learn the names of the letters and she will learn the different sounds each letter represents. As she gets a little older, Ron and Donna will teach her to write letters and numbers that she will already recognize by their shapes. Finally, she will associate the letters of the alphabet with the sounds of the words she uses when she speaks. At this point, she is on her way to learning to read!

When she tries to read books with her parents, at school, and on her own, Mia will learn how to learn new words by sounding them out. With more practice, she will begin to recognize familiar words easily and quickly, and she will know the patterns of spelling that appear in words and the patterns of words as they appear in sentences. She will be able to pay attention not just to the letters and words, but to the meanings they represent. Ultimately, Mia will be able to think about the meaning of the text as she reads.

By Michael M. Behrmann