BENGALURU: When Tanuja watched her son, a kindergartner, struggling to read English she decided to enrol him for phonetics classes. “They would teach him the sound of each letter in the English alphabet. In four months, he was able to join the sounds and read words. They would make him read picture books and he was able to even read new words. He now even translates words into Telugu, our mother tongue, to show that he understands the words,” she said. He is now in Class 2 and Tanuja is no longer worried.
Phonetics is a method of teaching English language through sounds, as sounds are the building blocks of language. As more parents become aware of the method of teaching English, they are increasingly getting their kids enrolled for such classes.“I enrolled both my children in a montessori that taught phonetics. They grew more confident, as they would break down words with 7-10 letters into 3 to 4 sounds, join them together and read. For example, the word ‘encyclopedia’. They began attempting to read sign boards when we stepped outside,” said Aarti, another parent.
Some parents like Shalini Suresh, took it upon themselves to learn Phonetics and teach it to their children directly.“When my son was in Class 2 his reading skills was not at the same level as his peers. It bothered him. I took a phonetics workshop instead of sending him to a tuition and ramped up his reading very quickly,” Shalini said.
Malathi Menda, a phonetic trainer for the last 10 years said,”Child are taught 44 phonemes (units of sound in a language that distinguish one word from another) and it makes reading and spelling easy, unlike rote-learning.” Menda has observed an increased demand for phonetics-based teaching from parents and teachers in the last 3-4 years.Shalini Nahata, a former phonetics teacher said,”Children would go from not being able to read words to reading books. Once children start reading, they don’t stop. They would read to themselves, their parents and siblings out of excitement.”