Article reflection: Word building: A strategic approach to the teaching of phonics.

Essay by watulakiscat October 2005

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Mr. Gunning teaches methods of instruction at Southern Connecticut and Central Connecticut Universities. He concentrates on an innate propensity of students to try to find portions of words which they can pronounce. In doing so, the student can establish the concept of word building.

Mr. Gunnning's article commences by defining the concept of word building. He relates how new readers separate words into onset and rime. In the article, onset is described as an initial consonant or consonant cluster and rime being a vowel or vowel-plus-consonant. In addition, Mr. Gunning also cites several studies which favor the method he supports.

He indicates that more than one pattern can be utilized to teaching phonics by means of word building. In his article, he discusses the onset and rime form -at, from which students can formulate the following words: bat, cat, hat, fat, mat and that. Gunning then states that there is another means of teaching word building.

This is called the make and break method. This is when students use high frequency words from their own reading. The example he uses is and. The teacher jumbles the word in many ways and the students reform the word until they can do it easily. Then the teacher adds the letter -s, forming the word sand. After this is done the teacher then breaks up the word sand to form the word and. The method is used with other words such as band and hand. He then states word building can be used to also teach words consisting of more than one syllable.

He concludes by stating the teacher can use the analogy method to assist students in pronouncing new words by comparing them to words they already know. He also feels that students who are good decoders and good readers. However,