Synthonics I-Aids in mediating word recognition and spelling of Grade 4 learners

Educator's Corner Opinion

Direct instruction appears the most effective approach for improving word recognition skills in students with learning disabilities. Direct instruction refers to teaching skills in explicit direct fashion. It involves drill or repetition practice and can be delivered to one child or group of students (Sanberry, 2006).

Synthetic Phonics is a strange, technical name that has nothing to do with being artificial. It is the synthesising or blending of sounds to make a word and enable children to read. It’s so effective that the methodology underpinning it forms the core of the UK, USA and Australian government’s literacy curriculum (Phonics Hero, 2017).

The objectives of this action research were to find out the evidences of improvements in the word recognition and spelling performance of grade 4 learners through the use of Synthonics I Aids.

This intervention made use of Synthonics (Synthetic Phonics). It is composed of two main I-aids (instructional aids) which were used to support the approach in order to improve the word recognition and spelling skills. All 36 pupils of Grade 4-C class of Camp 6 Elementary School from third quarter up to fourth quarter of school year 2017-2018 served as participants in this research.

This study made use of Mixed Method, specifically the Explanatory Sequential Design. To support the quantitative data collected survey questionnaire and interview was used to validate the participants’ improvements in their word recognition and spelling after implementing the Synthonics I-Aids intervention.

Mean percentage was used to determine the recognition and spelling skills performance of learners during their pre assessments to find out the learners’ scores during the CVC and Camera Words Reading and CVC and Camera Words Spelling. The same data analysis was done for the summative or post assessments per level in the CVC and Camera Word Reading, CVC and Camera Words Spelling.

The mean differences between the pre assessments and post assessments were computed to compare significant results of the learners’ performance after the intervention.

In determining the level of performance, mean percentage scores (MPS) were used. The data gathered through the descriptive survey questionnaire were sorted and classified accordingly. The same data were tallied, classified, categorized and entered in appropriate tables. Open-ended questionnaire was also used to validate the quantitative results.

The level of performances in word recognition and spelling skills of fourth grade learners increased. The Synthetic Phonics Approach generally had significant effects. Therefore, the Synthonics Aids were effective innovations to improve word recognition and spelling skills.

Based on the conclusions drawn, the following are recommended:

  1. The data in the study can serve as baseline for future trainings, other related researches that will benefit the planning and implementing of a stronger remedial reading program in schools especially in primary grades;
  2. These can also serve as a basis for district wide planning and making of instructional materials in word recognition and spelling to minimize number of pupils with poor comprehension that would lessen failing grades and retention;
  3. In the use of worksheets, it is recommended that contextualization on words and pictures of work sheets be made to attain a more effective remedial reading;
  4. Modifications can also be done when using the synthetic phonics aids depending on the level and learning style of the learners; and
  5. The manipulative aid can include camera words for recognition and spelling.

Further evaluative research and monitoring on this intervention, innovation and strategies will be of great help to enhance it, leading to a quality remedial beginning reading program. Jocelyn R. Bumanghat, Camp 4 Elementary School, Tuba, Benguet