Difficulties in How to Teach a Child to Read in English
What are the difficulties of learning English as a foreign language?
When we start learning a language that we are not familiar with, it is perfectly normal to be hesitant about vocabulary, turn of phrase, pronunciation and intonation. A language is not learned in a day, and even the most erudite polyglots have experienced difficulties when starting out.
The most common reading difficulties include mixing sounds, not knowing the meaning of unfamiliar words, and recognizing familiar words in a different context.
Very difficult pronunciation (including sounds that do not exist in oriental languages, which often that make complex spelling. Sometimes confusing grammar (present continuous or prepositions and adverbs for example)
Our students face several problems in learning to read English. These problems are as follows:
1. No mastery over the spoken form: Learning to read a foreign language is different from learning to read the mother tongue. The two situations are different. When the child learns to read his mother tongue at the age of three years oe so, he has already mastered its sound system and basic structures in the spoken form. He also knows vocabulary relevant to his range of experience. But when the child learns to read English. He knows nothing about its sound system, structures or vocabulary. The implication for the teacher of English is that the child must first be made aware in the spoken form whatever he is going to read.
Rightly has Reborn observed, “it may be laid as a general principle, that in his first year, a student should never be required to read any word with which he is not already familiar through conversation…..The closer this rule is adhered to the better will be the result. In trying to familiarize a student with the sound and ‘feel’, of a word before we require him to read it, we are simply following the treatment meted out to him when he learns to read in his mother-tongue.
2. The problem of English Spelling: Unlike oriental languages, English isn`t a phonetic language, that is, the pronunciation of a word isn`t the combination of the sounds of the letter`s constituting that word. Consider the word knowledge; the student has, therefore, to learn the pronunciation of each word separately.
3. The problem of script: English is written in Roman script, which is different from the scripts in which oriental language are written. The child in certain case is already familiar with the scripts of oriental languages. When he learns the Roman script, he is mastering new script.
In learning Roman script there is the additional difficulty of learning two kinds of letters, namely, capital letters and small letters. Scripts in oriental languages don`t have capital and small letters.
4. The problem of interference from the mother-tongue: the child carries the habits of reading the mother-tongue to reading of English. Some of these habits are defective, e.g. wrong eye to get a second look, lip movement, sub-vocal reading, etc.