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Junior high reading/phonics 
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Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:59 pm
Posts: 16
Post Junior high reading/phonics
Every day that I go into Japanese Junior High school classroom I’m surprised how poor the reading ability of some students is. I’ve noticed this from the first year students all the way up to the third year students. Yesterday when I went into the first year classes and the JET said open your books to page 63 and practice this with your partner. One of the students said, “I haven’t memorized it.” (In Japanese of course) I’ve noticed many students here only memorize words and this leads to problems with reading and spelling in the future.

I want to try to improve the reading ability of the classes. Do any of you know any effective in class activities to help those students that are struggling? I’m thinking of maybe warm up activities or some short activities to do every class that helps with reading and phonics. My concern is that it will be too boring for the students that have no problems reading. Any help or ideas would be welcomed.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:08 am

Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
Unfortunately in my experience you are in for a hard time trying to get the students to change. I think that Japanese students approach learning English in the same way they do Japanese where you have to memorise words rather than being able to work them out.

Anything you do with them in the way of phonics will help. Use Mark's ideas and resources. I have also used some games where, after teaching phonics, I write words on the board, real or made up, and get two teams to compete to read the word out loud. I do the same thing with groups spelling out words that I say and awarding points according to how correct they are.

If you can make the time and have a receptive teacher, then doing a few weeks as a block course of phonics can really help. I had one junior high school 13 years ago when I was here where we used the first six weeks of the school year to teach phonics to one class of first grade students (quite a different teacher, I had taught some private lessons with a friends child and he had seen the results and wanted to use it in a class). Was so successful that we did it with all classes the next year. But has it gone further and been adopted elsewhere - NO.

Now I am able to go into elementary schools and that is where I am pushing phonics, especially with the younger children. I f I can get them to learn to pronounce the sounds and then get the letters then I am a step ahead. I explain if asked what I am doing that the students are learning in exactly the same way as my own children did.

Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:07 pm
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