The importance of skills practice when learning to read


20140424_141823CVCC DictationCVCC word readingLearning to read, initially,  has two components:

1. knowledge – learning the graphemes and the sounds they represent

2. skills – learning to blend sounds into words and segment sounds for spelling

Many teachers offer lots of fun ways to learn the graphemes.  They do this in step-by-step progression starting from the simple graphemes progressing to the more complex ones.  But some children still fall behind.  All to often they have not mastered the skills of blending and segmenting.

Why is this?  Have they been taught explicitly how to blend and segment?  If so, could it be that the teachers do not allow enough time for skills practice?  Do children have enough opportunity to practice blending at word and text level at each stage, before moving on to the next grapheme?

Often, the point where things begin to fall apart is when children learn to read words with adjacent consonants.  The leap from reading words with 3 sounds (e.g…

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