Monday, July 13, 2009

Tedious Phonics

I'm going to be tutoring a little beginner Greek for the next school year. Hey, as long as I'm doing that, I might as well teach a little to my own munchkins. Paul is taking Greek in college in fall. Andrew has recently been working on learning to write the Greek alphabet and what the names of the letters are (which pretty much includes the phonetic sound of the letter, as in English).

So today we went over the diphthongs and just started reading. Just sounding out words. It's really really hard work when you have to rack your brain for "What letter is this? Oh. Yeah, I remember" and then what sound it makes, and then string all those sounds together and get the accent on the correct syllable. It's tedious work.

I kept thinking it was so much easier to teach them to read English. In fact, for most of the kids, I didn't teach them to read. They just somehow learned.

Think how much a kid brings to his first reading lessons in his native language. He already knows how to speak the language. So it's kind of like Suzuki music lessons -- your ear guides you into what's right and wrong, so you notice when you stumble. Kids know how to "group" the prepositional phrases. They know what the word means and the cadence of the sentence. And most kids know the letters and the sounds they make (at least in part) well before starting their reading lessons.

It's a whole lot different to come to a beginner's phonics lessons when you're still trying to remember what letter it is (the "nu" and "rho" and "chi" are especially tricksy, looking so similar to v and p and x) and then you don't have a clue what it is you're reading while you're sounding it out.

But we gotta start somewhere. And any help a kid can get before his first couple of weeks of Greek in college is gonna lighten the load when the prof starts laying it on. So we're starting with the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, and John 1 (a la Nat Bowditch).

No comments:

Post a Comment