Teachers' Questions: What is phonics?

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Q: I am from Brazil, and right now I am working in a public school here in America. ... I have never heard about phonics. I used to use the phonetic linguistic chart which I never liked. The students did not adapted so easy. .. Some teachers have told me there is a big controversial between phonics and sight words. Which way is it better to teach children how to read? Do you think phonics can help adult and teenager ESOL students to learn English? Are there any articles about it? .. It is something very interesting. and I would be interested in spreading the word around South America. - Giselle.

There is some controversy over phonics ( reading the sound of each letter ) vs. sight words ( learning words as whole chunks), but most of that is with people who take things to silly extremes of either just doing one, or just doing the other! However most teachers agree that doing some phonics, along with other techniques, is very useful. Especially with ESOL learners, even adults or teenagers, it can be very beneficial. I'd recommend having a try and see for yourself! Doing a search on google will bring up many good articles, or for a basic introduction, have a look at this page: http://www.rhythm.com.my/rcds/images/main/kidzbitz/phonics/phonics.asp

And for students the Phonics Games on the Genki English website are great for homework!

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Be genki,


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