Rethinking reading instruction
Many educators have long believed that when words differ on only one sound, early readers can learn the rules of phonics by focusing on what is different between the words. This is thought to be a critical gateway to reading words and sentences. But scientists at the University of Iowa are turning that thinking on its head. A recent study published in Developmental Psychology shows certain kinds of variation in words may help early readers learn better. When children see the same phonics regularities, embedded in words with more variation, they may learn these crucial early reading skills better. What might appear to make learning a more difficult task — learning about letter-sound relationships from words with more variation — actually leads to better learning.
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