EARLY READING AND WRITING INSTRUCTION IN TURKEY


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Abstract

Reading and writing are among the language skills which individuals gain formally after family education in the process of acquiring a mother tongue. The methods and techniques which are used in the process of reading and writing instruction underlie the efficient future use of mother tongue and adaptation to knowledge and information era. In the study conducted within this context, the short history of early reading and writing instruction in mother tongue which is given in the first year of primary education in Turkey is explained and the Early Reading and Writing Instruction Curriculum which is currently in effect is introduced.

Full Text

Early reading and writing set ground for education system and other courses. Quality of the adopted curriculum is of vital importance in order this foundation to be laid impeccably. Consequently, countries plan early reading and writing instruction and develop curriculums based on contemporary conditions. After proclamation of the Republic in Turkey, a version of Latin alphabet, which was adapted to Turkish, was commenced. With this process, new early reading and writing instruction curriculums were developed and various methods and techniques, based on the requirements of distinctive periods, were introduced in order to increase the number of literate people in a short span of time. Despite the availability of various namings according to the used methods, two classifications are observed basically. Vacca [1] classifies the early reading and writing instruction as phonics and whole language. Early reading and writing instruction methods are classified as synthesis, analysis and blended methods [2]. Furthermore, they are also classified as synthetic, analytic and blended methods [3]. The methods based on synthesis include four techniques as letter (alphabet), sound (phonetics), syllable and sound based clause methods. The methods based on analysis consist of three techniques as narrative (text), word and clause [4]. In Turkey, early reading and writing instruction was conducted by using these techniques and methods in certain years. In 1924, Alphabet Congress was held in İstanbul. In this congress, word method was advocated [4]. In the Primary School Curriculum of 1926, sound and syllable method was prohibited and the choice of word or blended method was left to teachers [5]. This curriculum had been in effect until 1936. In 1936 Curriculum, differently from 1926 Curriculum, simple words and clauses were included. Clause method was adopted in 1936[6]. In 1948 Curriculum, it was emphasized that early reading and writing instruction was to be commenced with short clauses. It was suggested that clauses, words, syllables were to be divided into words, syllables and letters, respectively, in time [7]. It is observed that clause analysis was used in 1948 Curriculum which had been in effect for 20 years. Likewise, clause method was included in 1968 and 1981 Curriculum; early reading and writing instruction was conducted through clause method in Turkey. Sound based clause method was adopted in Early Reading and Writing Instruction Curriculum which has been in effect since 2004-2005 school year. Based on PISA and UNESCO research results, early reading and writing instruction methods have been questioned and changed in order for students’ mental and individual development to be accelerated and provide them with more effective and efficient reading skills. Consequently, in the Turkish Education Curriculum which was developed in line with the constructivist approach, early reading and writing instruction has been attached particular importance and sound based clause method has been proposed [2]. In sound based clause method, early reading and writing instruction is commenced with sounds. Early reading and writing instruction is conducted by reaching syllables, words and clauses from sounds, syllables and words, respectively. Cursive italics are used in early reading and writing instruction which is conducted with reading, writing, speaking, listening, visual reading and presentation activities taking place in Turkish Curriculum [8]. In Turkish, letters are provided in groups based on sound based clause method. These groups were identified as the following in Primary Education Curriculum of 2005: 1st group: e,l,a,t - E,L,A,T 2nd group: i,n,o,r,m - İ,N,O,R,M 3rd group: u,k,ı,y,s,d - U,K,I,Y,S,D 4th group: ö,b,ü,ş,z,ç - Ö,B,Ü,Ş,Z,Ç, 5th group: g,c,p,h - G,C,P,H 6th group: ğ,v,f,j - Ğ,V,F,J Early Reading and Writing Instruction is explained as the following in Primary Education Curriculum of 2005: - First of all, the “preparation activities for early reading and writing” which include posture, holding book, visual reading, holding pencil, free and regular line drawing activities are conducted. After the preparation activities, feeling and recognizing the sound, which is the beginning of sound based clause method, comes. In this phase, such activities as reading short stories, drama and tongue twisters are performed. In Figure 1, an example of feeling and recognizing phase from early reading and writing booklet is given. In Figure 1, students are asked to put a tick in the boxes under the objects whose names include “i”. Figure 1 - Distinguishing “i” sound (Reference: “Popi’yle Okuma Yazma Öğreniyorum-5. Kitapçık.” Ankara: Zambak Publishing) - After feeling sounds, reading and writing sounds (sound-letter coordination) is the second step. In this phase, the teacher shows how to represent the sound with letters and its pronunciation on the board; then reads it aloud together with students. After this, the teacher asks students to write the spelling of the sound in their notebooks, which have four lines and three spaces, by following the example. Concerning the reading and writing sounds phase, an example from early reading and writing booklet is presented in Figure 2. Students are asked to retrace “i” following the arrows and write “i” between the lines below. Figure 2 - Reading and Writing “i” sound (Reference: “Popi’yle Okuma Yazma Öğreniyorum-5. Kitapçık.” Ankara: Zambak Publishing) - After instructing the first two sounds in the first sound group, syllables are formed. This phase which is classified as forming words and clauses from syllables is the most important phase of early reading and writing instruction. An example of forming words and clauses from syllables phase is given in Figure 3. In Figure 3, the words and clauses which are composed by a student after learning “i” are presented. Figure 3 - A notebook example. (Taken with the student’s consent. 20.10.2012) - Forming texts is the last phase of sound based clause method. Text forming activities that use words and clauses with certain sounds are performed. An example of text forming phase is given in Figure 4. In Figure 4, students are asked to read a text related to the picture shown on the page and write it in the lines below. Figure 4 - Text Activity about “i” sound (Reference: “Popi’yle Okuma Yazma Öğreniyorum-5. Kitapçık.” Ankara: Zambak Publishing) In conclusion, reading and writing are the skills that are to be improved lifelong; they are developed in early childhood and have an important impact on socialization and self-expression of individuals. In this context, the quality of early reading and writing instruction which is provided to the students will ensure the quality of the individuals who form society. It can be suggested that families and teachers should be supportive and helpful regarding early reading and writing instruction; studies approaching the cooperation among teacher-student-family ought to be conducted in the field.

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About the authors

Güvey Aktay Emel

Anadoly University

Author for correspondence.
Email: eguvey@anadolu.edu.tr

Research Assistant at the Education Department

26470, Eskisehir, Turkey

References

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Copyright (c) 2015 Emel G.A.

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