Which reading method to choose in CP?

Learning to read in first grade is the key to all learning. At the beginning of the year, reading is a learning process, while gradually it becomes a tool for acquiring new knowledge. What method should be used to learn to read in first grade? Global, semi-global or syllabic?

Different reading methods exist but the objective is the same: to read properly and to try to make students love reading. In CP, it is more about developing the child’s ability to decode syllables while simultaneously giving him the means to understand what he is reading.

In general, two types of methods of learning to read are used

  • The alphabetical method which goes from the letter, to the word and the text 
  • The mixed method and the global method which go from the text to the letter 

From a scientific point of view, we speak more of phonic methods (syllabic methods) and non-phonic methods (global methods).

The 3 methods of reading in CP 

Reading is a process that begins with learning phonemic awareness and ends with children being able to not only read words, but also understand their meaning. Here are the different CP readings:

Syllabic CP reading method

This method was developed by the German pedagogues Fri. G and Sam H.. It’s the famous :ba ba. The principle is simple: you have to start by learning the letters, then the sounds to then be able to form the words. It is a method that allows children to recognize and use phonemes correctly. Each of them represents a letter of the alphabet which makes it possible to create combinations according to the rules of the language studied. 

Characteristics of the syllabic method

The syllabic method is a synthetic method, that is to say that it starts from small units to gradually arrive at more complex units. It uses syllables as individual basic units, going beyond individual letter sounds.

When we speak, we do not pronounce the sound of each letter by isolating it but syllabically, that is to say by making combinations of several sounds. Thus, as we have noticed, this method starts from the syllable as the unit for learning to read and write since it is the smallest pronounceable unit.

Other reading methods either focus on the spelling (the way the letter is spelled) or just the phoneme (the pronunciation). The syllabic method makes it possible to combine these two aspects since it allows the teaching of the pronunciation of syllables as well as the progressive approach in the formation of words and sentences.

How to use it in class?

The syllabic method allows students to learn to read by following a process that becomes more complex. First, children become familiar with letters and their sounds. Once they have learned the pronunciation of each letter, they begin learning sound combinations.

Integration begins with vowels. Pictures and words can be incorporated to facilitate their learning. Once this point is reached, students are taught compound syllables, ie a combination of a consonant followed by a vowel (ma, m, mi, mo and mu for example). Then, the difficulty is increased by teaching them syllables that are more difficult to pronounce, that is, they consist of two consonants (bra, bre, bri, bro and bru are examples). When students master these two types of syllables, they are taught those that have an inverse structure, that is to say that they are formed with a vowel followed by a consonant (ar, ir, or and ur for example ). Finally, they are taught the most difficult syllables. 

The teaching of the syllabic method can be done using books with several types of syllables, called syllabaries .

The global method

This method of reading relies on the visual. She basically combines letters with pictures. This became popular after Glenn Doman, father of the method, suggested that children learn to read using his research.

In the global method, the teacher starts from the sentence as a whole to learn to read. Freinet , for example, is a defender of the global method through his so-called “natural” method (one learns to read according to needs; there is no textbook).

The Global Method is also a popular way to teach children with dyslexia and various learning disabilities .

What is the difference between the global reading method and traditional methods of learning to read?

The global reading method involves presenting the whole word to the child for them to rely on their visual perception and ability to recall visual information. Thus, the student does not read the word letter by letter but memorizes it as an image. However, unlike the ordinary image which represents a particular object, this one denotes a generalized idea of ​​the object or the event (we observe a broad meaning). When learning to read with the syllabic method, the student must first learn the letters, then the syllables and finally the complete sentences. The syllabic reading method is often difficult because it involves both visual thinking and analytical, synthetic thinking.

Furthermore, the child’s ability to memorize and use words and global sentences facilitates the transition to analytical reading.

READ ALSO: Global method, syllabic method: what are the differences?

How to learn to read with the global method?

Teaching reading using this method is as follows:

  • Make “flash cards”. They should be brightly colored and have a large font. You can even make them at home. Each series should follow a theme, such as fruit or kitchen accessories.
  • Show the children these flash cards. The demonstration of the cards is done quickly and at the same pace. It is assumed that the child will absorb the information into his subconscious.
  • Repeat the exercise regularly, usually three times a day for a week and a half. Don’t explain every letter or sound as you go. It’s not like the standard reading method that relies on first learning the alphabet as part of understanding French. 

READ ALSO: The global reading method: how to take advantage of it?

The semi-global reading method 

The semi-global method also called “the mixed method” is a method of learning to read that combines the advantages of the syllabic method and the global method. In other words, the words learned analytically are used to discover the syllables and sounds and thus allow the deciphering of new words.

How to use it in class?

In the field, the vast majority of teachers combine the two methods. The syllabic method is used to decipher words that are pronounced like their spelling. It is also possible to use the syllabic method. For words whose pronunciation does not correspond to their spelling, teachers prefer to use the global method.

To use this method of reading in CP, teachers often use reading books that help the child visualize  written language . In this respect, the child makes the connection between the image, the letters displayed and what he hears.

However, this method of reading poses problems for learners. It causes comprehension problems. In addition, the mixed method requires a strong concentration, because the child must break down the words to understand the functioning of the language. It should be noted that the transposition of a sound or an image into written language is not something simple for a child during the first months.

READ ALSO: How to learn to read in first grade?

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