Reading or Chanting?


Continuing on the subject of reading, I got into a conversation with a dear friend of mine who is also a homeschooler, mashaa`Allaah and we were exchanging our experiences on teaching our children to read. We had slightly different approaches and I wonder whether anyone can share their experiences too.

Umm J: Does not show flashcards of words with pictures, stating to the child what the word is – obviously the child will ‘know’ what it is due to recognition of the picture. Umm J prefers to do pure phonectics, working with the sound of the letters and helping child connect sound with letter, then spelling it out.

Umm A: Implements the showing of words (i.e. apple), teaching the child each letter of the word and getting them to learn words through this medium. Her third child learnt his name via this method and now knows not only how to spell his name, but can write it and confidently say each letter.

I personally tend to shy away from showing Junayd words and teaching him via this method as I am worried that he’ll not be reading, but rather he’ll be chanting. I can recall reading in a Montessori book on the subject of reading that parents/ teachers can tell when a beginner is reading and when they are merely ‘chanting’. According to the book, a beginner reader who reads, takes time to decipher the words, while a chanter simple states it outright. Any thoughts on this? I believe this to be true to an extent – when presented with C A T, Junayd will stare at the word and then say “cat”… however, he’s beginning to be a little chanter – is this because he now ‘knows’ the word?

~ Umm Junayd.


4 thoughts on “Reading or Chanting?

  1. as salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

    I don’t have ANY approach at all… We just read and read 😛 I just find phonics so boring 😛

  2. Assalamu 3alaikum
    Dear sister,
    I’m very interrested in teacing PHONICS. Do you teach it from a book and follow lessons or do you just sound out the letters the way you think they sound?
    And what is the Montessori way of learning the Alphabets?

  3. As Salaamu Alaikum,
    I have used both methods, when I have taught in the past. And I have found the flash cards to be the most effective way of teaching a child to learn. Look up the hot house method insha Allah. What I have done is teach the phonetic qualities of letters first as you have done masha Allah. And then go on to CVC words (D-O-G, H-A-T) using phonics. But the English language doesn’t always support phonics and with time as words grow larger, phonics I found became confusing for the children. So I used the hot house method to SUPPORT phonetic reading. Using flash cards with words only and going through them very quickly repeatedly, on a daily basis. Until they can read the word back to me in their own time in different orders. Then we put the words into sentences and find them in books.

    But in the end whatever works for the indiviual child is what is best, masha Allah
    Wa Salaamu Alaikum
    Umm Mujahid

  4. Assalaamu ‘alaikum.

    Cappuccino I have used Jolly phonics and there are various websites which help with phonics – one of the most popular being

    The Montessori method trains the children in listening before sight – so one may spend several days and weeks training the ear to distinguish between the letters through various games and activities, then one moves on to showing the children the letters along with the sound and utilising sandpaper letters. Do a Google search, you’ll find a lot of information inshaa`Allaah (maybe TOO much!).

    Umm Mujahid Jazaakillaahu khairan for your input – I’ll be looking up the hot house method inshaa`Allaah.

    Was-salaamu ‘alaikum
    ~ Umm Junayd.

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