Learn to Read from Sounds


Non-Fiction - Education
60 Pages
Reviewed on 05/25/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Learn to Read from Sounds is an introduction to phonics for educators and parents, written by Florence Barnes. What is phonics, and why isn’t it currently being used in teaching reading? The author gives readers a sound grounding in what phonics actually is: ‘the representation of the sounds of spoken language by the letters of the alphabet,' and she argues that the current system called ‘whole language,’ which is 'a child-centered, experience-based, holistic learning,' fails to help those children who find reading a task. Barnes describes the changes in pedagogy that developed from the early emphasis on phonics, through the 'sight word' memorization method, to the current whole language program. While acknowledging the rationale that led educators to seek other methods, Barnes believes that phonics deserves a place at the table especially considering the number of kids who are having trouble reading.

Anyone who’s suffered through the early Dick and Jane and Spot books of the fifties and sixties will understand why educators were looking for better ways to get kids reading, Florence Barnes’ educational text, Learn to Read from Sounds, presents persuasive evidence that phonics be utilized as part of an educator’s arsenal for teaching reading. She shows how, even if a child doesn’t necessarily know the meaning of a word, the ability to pronounce it and read it aloud is an invaluable skill. The second half of her book gives educators and parents a full introduction to phonics so they can pass on the skills and exercises to the children in their care. As Barnes illustrates, there are sounds to be learned and mastered. After that, a child’s ability to progress using phonics can be unlimited. Learn to Read from Sounds is highly recommended.

Kristy Vee

Learn to Read From Sounds by Florence Barnes is a comprehensive guide meant to teach children (and adults) the invaluable skill of reading through phonics and sound. Phonics, a centuries-old, tried-and-true method of educating readers, has been viewed by some as outdated, unnecessary, even boring. By others, it’s still regarded as one of the best ways to develop a new reader of any age. (I couldn’t agree more!) Throughout history, the ways to teach children to read have not been without controversy, but the use of sound and phonics has more than proven its effectiveness. Between the pages of this easily-understood book, the author provides the tools necessary to become familiar with the sounds of each consonant and vowel so that the reader may piece together words, sentences, and paragraphs; to ultimately experience the joys of literacy and reading!

Without a doubt, Learn to Read From Sounds by Florence Barnes is an excellent tool for helping someone become a top-notch reader. It was so easy to follow! I remember when I was helping my son with his first-grade homework, I was shocked to learn that they weren’t teaching him to sound out vowels and consonants. In fact, he had no idea what a vowel or consonant even was and insisted, “We don’t do it that way, Mom.” When I spoke with his teacher about my concerns, she told me phonics was outdated and would only derail him. What? I watched my son struggle day after day, unable to sound out letters and build words, so I took things into my own hands (despite the derailment warnings) and created a few homemade workbooks for him to practice. Well, it must have worked because he is now a writer and teaches English. Phonics works! I wish I’d had this book back in 1996! What a perfect learning tool for parents or anyone beginning to read. Five stars.

Tammy Ruggles

Learn to Read From Sounds by Florence Barnes is a short but impactful book about how to teach phonics to children in schools, but it could also be helpful to anyone trying to learn English as a second language. The idea behind this book is phonics and how to teach it -- that is, how to sound out letters in the alphabet as they appear in words. The book starts with a definition of phonics and why it's important for young readers to learn to read using phonics. With phonics, almost any word in the English language can be sounded out. Barnes offers multiple examples of phonics, words and sentences alike. Repeating the sounds and learning phonics is the foundation for learning to read, but the author explains that not all teachers teach it, and there is no uniform education plan that incorporates phonics as "the one and only way" or "the best way" to teach reading.

Learn to Read From Sounds by Florence Barnes is concise and easy to read and understand. Teachers unfamiliar with phonics can benefit from knowing how to teach it in the classroom, and students can read along with the examples as well. If you love reading, and love reading to your own children, you will appreciate the purpose and execution of this book. Some of the examples found in Learn to Read From Sounds will no doubt have readers hearkening back to the days of "Dick and Jane" books taught in schools, and yes, the concepts, words, and rhythms are still there. There are several different ways to teach reading -- sight words being one of them -- but phonics, and this book, should provide a good foundation to anyone wanting to read and teach skills to last a lifetime.