This is the basic requirement for learning to read, and a lack of phonemic awareness is the root cause of failure to read in children. People with dyslexia have trouble with phonemic segmentation, phonemic deletion, phonemic matching, phonemic counting (number of sounds in a word), phonemic substitution, blending and rhyming.
Dyslexia is not about reversing letters: it is a brain disorder that makes it difficult to connect the sound components of speech to the written letters representing those sounds, which is no simple task (Haseltine 92). To read a word, the brain must first resolve the word into letters, and then match each letter to the individual phoneme it represents. It must then attach the phonemes together into the sound of the word, and retrieve the word from memory to comprehend it. There are 40 phonemes in the English language because letters can express multiple sounds. Haseltine gives the example of the phonemes in the word rutabaga: r/u/t/[inverted] e/b/e/g/[inverted] e - there are two pronunciations of the letter a: the first and last a sound as in sofa, but the second a sounds as in bait; and the t sound is similar to d. This is difficult to comprehend for someone who can read normally, but is impossible for someone who is dyslexic. Children performing poorly on phonemic awareness in oral language in kindergarten are likely to experience difficulties in acquiring early word reading skills which provide the basis for reading ability in later years (Reilly 71). These children need to be taught phonemic awareness directly and explicitly before phonics teaching begins, otherwise phonics will not make sense to them, according to Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, LLC (Reilly 71).
Results from a study in Finland showed that a short training course in which sound sequences were matched with visual patterns resulted in a boost in reading skills in children with dyslexia (Bower 155). Neuroscientists also observ...
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