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Title: Learning to read - the place of phonics and real books in the reading curriculum
Authors: Cheah, Yin Mee
Issue Date: 1997
Citation: Teaching and Learning, 17(2),33-39
Abstract: The debate over how to teach reading has been a long and acrimonious one, with two distinct camps each advocating different approaches. A recent Straits Times report "Furore in NZ over how reading should be taught" (August 15, 1995) showed that this "war" is still on-going, in the most literate nation in the world, New Zealand, where the conflict has been like before, between a phonics approach and the whole language approach which was pioneered in New Zealand. In Singapore, much of our beginning reading curriculum has been imported from New Zealand through REAP or the Reading and English Acquisition Programme, but with the recent introduction of a thematic approach to language teaching, questions have again been raised about how beginning reading should be taught. In particular, there has been concern about the neglect of phonics, and some schools have, in fact, considered abandoning the big books in favour of a phonics-based programme. In this paper, I would like to address this issue of phonics versus big books again. I will begin by discussing what the new 1991 syllabus has to say about how to teach beginning reading and go on to outline some of the issues that have arisen from the document. I will then summarise some research findings about the reading process and draw some implications from there for beginning reading instruction in the Singapore context.
ISSN: 0129-7112
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles - Teaching and Learning

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