Developing Knowledge of Phonology and Phonetic Sounds of Words

Brief description of the topic

There are many factors that play an important role in the development of reading, writing, and literacy skills. One of these important factors is the development of knowledge of phonology and phonetic sounds of words, which is a topic that is chosen for this research paper. The knowledge of phonology and phonetic sounds of words primarily refers to the ability to understand the sound patterns that are related to the language that a child is exposed to.

According to Stoel-Gammon (2011), developing knowledge of phonology and phonological development is mainly concerned with two basic components, i.e. a biologically based component that is related to the development of motor and speech skills required for pronunciation of words, and secondly, a cognitive linguistic component related to the learning of the phonological system of the language. It is the understanding of the various ways in which oral language can be manipulated and divided into smaller components. It also includes the understanding that it is phonemes or individual sounds that a word constitutes of and that these phonemes could be manipulated either by blending, segmenting, or changing individual phonemes in words for creating different words.

Activities in class for enhancing instruction and their impact

For enhancing the students’ skills in this area of phonological awareness and phonetic sounds of words, the activities that will be undertaken include teaching segmentation at different phonological levels, making them understand about phoneme deletion and substitution, and bringing awareness about letter-sound correspondence. For segmentation, activities would include teaching children how to segment sentences into words and then segmenting words into onsets, syllables and rimes would be considered. After children have learned removing the first sound of a word, they will also be taught how short words can be segmented into individual phonemes. Making them understand about phoneme deletion and substitution would require students to manipulate spoken words by deleting and substituting particular phonemes. For this purpose, a set of words would be selected and students would be asked to say those words without specific sounds or by substitution of some other sounds. In this way, deleting and substitution will be practiced in both ending and beginning sounds. Picture cards would be shown for further practicing and developing the knowledge of the students in this linguistic area, particularly for letter-sound correspondence.

The above strategies and activities will make students familiar with phonology and phonetic sounds, which has been found out to facilitate word learning (Duff & Hulme, 2012). Within the context of word recognition and development of spelling, the importance of knowledge of phonology and phonetic sounds is recognized (Gillon, 2012). Gillon (2012) has stated that there is a large body of research that has demonstrated the existence of a relationship between awareness of phonology and literacy development. Furthermore, the phonological awareness knowledge of a child is also identified as a major predictor in reading performance (Gillon, 2012). As a result of the research on the topic, developing knowledge of phonology and phonetic sound of words also brings better literacy outcomes (Carson et al., 2013). Hence, when the child is provided instruction in this area, he/she is able to give a better reading performance and in improved classroom performance.

Ways in which the instruction reflects the Common Core State Standards in ELA

Since the Common Core Standards in ELA asks students to read stories, literature, and complex texts that provide background knowledge and facts, the instruction will help students as it will enable them to read better. The instruction also reflects the Common Core Standards in ELA in the area of phonological awareness. In this area, it is expected that children demonstrate awareness and competence in blending and segmenting rimes and onsets, segmenting words into a sequence of individual sounds, adding or substituting sounds in words, knowing spelling-sound correspondence, etc. These areas are addressed in the instruction as segmenting at different phonological levels, making students understand about phoneme deletion and substitution, and bringing awareness about letter-sound correspondence is considered for enhancing instruction in this skill area.

Ways in which the instruction helps in engaging and motivating students

The instruction will help in engaging and motivating students by making use of colorful graphics and animations. Using multimedia resources, games, and graphics are good ways of keeping young learners engaged and motivated as it brings them fun and excitement (Habgood & Ainsworth, 2011). Furthermore, when activities selected are developmentally appropriate, it facilitates in keeping the children engaged in the learning process, hence this will also be kept in consideration that the instruction and activities are planned according to the developmental stage of the learners. Providing a safe and supportive classroom environment in which the students are encouraged to learn and provided with opportunities for taking risks and responding openly to the activities that are initiated will also help in engaging and keeping learners motivated in the learning process.

Ways in which technology can be incorporated for enhancing linguistic instruction

In the current times, technology can be incorporated in many new ways for enhancing linguistic instruction. Northrop and Killeen (2013) suggest the use of iPads with relevant apps for building linguistic and literacy skills in the early years. Similarly, touch screen tablets and interactive whiteboards are also found out to be effective in engaging and motivating early learners and for enhancing linguistic instruction (Neumann & Neumann, 2014). Children could play games that are designed to teach phonics and phonology in general or practice segmenting words, deleting and substituting, sound-letter correspondence etc. In this manner, the technology could facilitate the development of knowledge of phonology and phonetic sounds in an interesting and engaging way.

Ways for providing for differentiation of instruction

Differentiation of instruction is primarily concerned with the tailoring of instruction to meet the individual needs of different students in the classroom. When developing knowledge of phonology and phonetics, the diverse needs of students and their specific difficulties have to be taken into account when planning, teaching, and assessing them. Furthermore, the diverse backgrounds and the additional support that is required by learners also need to be identified and incorporated in the planning and teaching process. For example, there may be students with different learning styles, or students with reading difficulties or special needs or students learning English as a second language all within the same classroom. In such a scenario, for providing for such differences, the teacher could differentiate the process of teaching, content, products or resources, or the learning environment in order to cater to and provide to the needs of the different learners in the classroom (Watts-Taffe et al., 2012).

Conclusions/Reflections

Phonology is a branch of linguistics, which is concerned mainly with the manner in which sounds organized and used in a language, while phonetics focuses on production of speech sounds. From the research carried out, knowledge of phonology and phonetic sounds of words is an important linguistic area for learners to develop. Research reveals that there exists a relationship between awareness of phonology and literacy development and literacy outcomes while this linguistic skill also has a significant impact on reading performance (Carson et al., 2012; Gillon, 2012). Given the importance of this linguistic skill, it is important for learners to be provided with sufficient opportunities in the classroom to develop in this area. Instruction that needs to be carried out should focus on areas that are reflected in Common Core Standards in ELA. These include segmentation at different phonological levels, making learners understand about phoneme deletion and substitution, and bringing awareness about letter-sound correspondence. All these are listed under phonological awareness and phonics and word recognition in the document.

A teacher also needs to provide for differentiation of instruction since diversity is a key part of classrooms in the current times. In this regard, research reveals that the teacher could provide for differentiation by either differentiating the process of teaching, or content, or products or resources, or the learning environment in order to cater to and provide to the needs of the different learners in the classroom (Watts-Taffe et al., 2012). Students are also required to be motivated and engaged, and for this purpose, from research it was found out that there are many ways in which this can be done. However, using technology, playing games, and graphical illustrations are good ways of keeping young learners engaged and motivated as it brings them fun and excitement (Habgood & Ainsworth, 2011). Touch screen tablets and interactive whiteboards are found out to be effective in this regard where learners could play games that are designed to teach phonics and phonology to them (Neumann & Neumann, 2014).