Learning to read is primarily an exercise in metalinguistic skills. A child has to understand that what he or she is reading is a form of speech. Then they have to understand and interpret the words, the sounds and the syllables.
He has to sound out the words from individual syllables and letters. Next, he has to differentiate phonemes — such as why the letter “a” in the word “hat” is different than the letter “a” in the word “ate.” He has to learn the alphabet.
Only when she can do all this can she move on to recognizing a multi-syllable word instantly, which allows her to read faster and to interpret the meaning of a sentence.
Training students to become aware of sound units larger than phonemes is part of every good Reading Program and is especially needed when a student has reading difficulties.
Before children start reading instruction, they are usually aware of syllables. The understanding of the phonemes is what takes the time to learn. And if the child was in a situation where he never had to learn the alphabet, he would think it odd that a word starting with “p” sounds vastly different than one starting with “ph.” He would not be able to create the word “think” out of the individual letters t-h-i-n-k.
Children with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) generally have poor metalinguistic skills. Experts report that part of the approach to work with children with APD is to do the same things that would be done if a child was hearing-impaired:
- slow down your speech — no more fast talking
- speak directly to your child
- speak clearly to your child
- eliminate background noise from the room
- eliminate any other distractions, such as other sibling laughing and playing in the other part of the room
However, these aren’t enough. You need a clear and effective program that will address metalinguistic skills and APD. And that’s where we can help — learn more about programs designed for ADP at Gemm Learning.
Nagy, William E. and Richard C. Anderson. “Technical Report 618: Metalinguistic Awareness and Literacy Acquisition in Different Languages.” Center for the Study of Reading, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nov. 1995. Web.