Response to Chapt. 8 of Gunning’s, Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties

As I read chapter eight one section kept sticking out in my mind. The section was, “Using a multisensory approach to learn letter names and letter sounds.” This talks about when students have a hard time and cannot learn the letter names and letter sounds in a more traditional approach. The multisensory approach is then advised to be used because students are able to use their kinesthetic and tactile senses to strengthen auditory and visual senses. Instead of just hearing and seeing the sounds, students are able to say and physically show the letter. The multisensory approach works on many things such as recognition, phonics, and motor movement. In my eyes this way should be the “normal” to teach letter names and letter sounds.
This section also highlights a lesson, from the Singerland approach (1971,) which I found to be very useful when explaining how to implement this technique:
• It first starts out with the teacher saying the letter, n, and then allowing the class to say it. Make sure to enunciate when speaking and allow the students to see your lip movements so they can repeat. Have them repeat the letter, n, back to you as a class and then call on individuals to say the letter.
• Forming the letter is the next step that is taken. The teacher demonstrates the motion of the letter as they are writing it. So for, n, as you are writing you would say: start at the top and move down and up and around and down. After a couple demonstrations let the students write the word and say the motions with you. Then let them do it on their own. Saying and doing the motions will help the students remember the formation of the letter.
• After forming the letter comes learning the letter’s name. Once the students have learned the formation of the letter, then replace the formation steps with the name of the letter, n, as they are writing. Students keep writing the letter and saying it simultaneously until they feel comfortable to write it by itself without saying it. Then without looking at the previously written letters, write the letter, n, from memory.
• Finally is learning the letter sound. This lesson uses shared-reading to show the letter in words. Therefore, find a book that has many words that begin with, n, and read it to the students. Then go back through the book and see if the students can pick out the words that start with the letter n. Identify the word, read and, write down the words for the students to see. Make not of the connection that all the words that start with n sound the same at the beginning. Then enunciate the word clearly and then highlight the / n /sound of the word.

This is a great way for not only struggling readers to learn the letter names and letter sounds, but in my eyes is a great way for every student to learn the letter names and letter sounds.

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