Which words should be the first to spell

High-frequency words should not be the first words to learn. Read on to understand why.

Readin10.don't-slump_smallg goes through 2 basic steps:

  1. Phonics is used to break down a word and then blend it together and pronounce it.  Sometimes because of the quirks of the English language, you may need help as to how to pronounce it.
  2. After breaking down a new word 2-3 times you should be able to just recognise it because you have a mental image of the word in your Word Form Area; this is called word recognition. But this last step, where you just know the word without breaking it down, isn’t explicitly taught; it is left to chance.

Some children will get permanently stuck in breaking down every word (step 1), while others can’t even master step 1, particularly most Dyslexics. If you can’t master phonics there is little point in repeating it over and over again and expect a different result.

However, these children have other strengths to visualise pictures, so with just a little tuition, they can learn how to picture words by word recognition. In effect, they are jumpstarting step 2.

It is easier to create mental images of nouns first as they are visual words. High-frequency words have very few nouns, especially for the youngest children. Never start by teaching words a child can’t read through word recognition. (We have the brain research to prove how difficult that would be).

For spelling, mental images of words are essential in English where only 46% of words are spelt phonetically correct; we have homophones, silent letters, etc, etc.  Whereas Italian is a phonetic language so you just write how the word sounds.

For Maths you need mental images of numbers, how else are you going to mental arithmetic; the clue is in the title. For comprehension how you need mental images of the text so that you can remember it. For Art, you need mental images of what you are going to draw. And so it goes on, so why aren’t schools checking a child’s mental images in Reception Class; Empowering Learning practitioners are doing this with families and some schools.  Using mental imagery will not only assist with literacy, numeracy, comprehension etc but also increased confidence, reduced stress and distraction.

To learn more just go to Empowering Learning, at www.empoweringlearning.co.uk and join one of our free on-line classes, look at the resources available and start to learn about the vital skill of how mental images effects learning and often manifests in learning difficulties.

All of the above is covered by various research.

#empoweringlearning  #maths #literacy #numeracy #distration

About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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