Why Teaching Phonics is So Hard

Posted by Tiara Swinson on March 07, 2019

How to help your child with phonicsIlliteracy in America is a problem. In an age where everyone has access to free education, we shouldn’t have 30 million Americans who can’t read or write above a third grade level. The problem is even worse when you break the numbers down by social class.

Students with a lower socioeconomic status (SES) are at a disadvantage educationally. The American Psychological Association found that students that come from families with low SES are 5 years behind their peers in their literacy skills when they enter high school. Our world relies on literacy, so when people are illiterate, they will struggle to succeed, which makes it harder for them to move out of their social class. This creates a vicious cycle that can only be broken with better education.

The Root of the Problem

A big part of the literacy problem is due to inadequate understanding of phonics. Without phonics, reading is virtually impossible. When you have a basic grasp on the concepts of phonics, you can sound out basic words and sentences; phonics gives you the tools to have success with reading and writing.

It’s Not an Easy Solution

So, if it’s as simple as teaching phonics, why are there so many people who are illiterate? The problem is that it’s hard to teach phonics. For experienced speakers, phonics is hard to conceptualize and explain because it’s something that has become natural over the years.

With the English language, there are so many rules and exceptions to the rules that it seems impossible to know everything, let alone teach someone else. The way letter sounds are strung together to create words in the English language often just doesn’t make sense. This is due largely in part to English being a melting pot of other languages. The combination of the letters “ch” for example make one sound when they are in Germanic word (cheap) and another sound when they are in a Greek work (chemist).

This can all become overwhelming very quickly and can make you want to quit teaching phonics to your child before you even get started. Just as soon as you think you master the rules, then you have to look at all of the exceptions. Once you’ve finally figured it out yourself, then you have to try to take your limited understanding and explain it to a child. Trying to teach something that you don’t even understand well yourself is very difficult.

We’re Here to Help

It’s hard and frustrating to teach a concept that you can’t fully explain. That’s why there are experts available to help you get your child on the right path and lead them toward a lifetime of literacy, regardless of where they come from and what their past has been like. Math Genie has programs available to give your child the best chance at success. We know that teaching phonics is hard, and that’s why we want to take it off your plate so you have one less thing to worry about.

Topics: Reading Comprehension, Writing Skills, Phonics

Sign Up Now For a FREE class!