Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
- PublicationIn Defense of DecodingLiteracy instruction in primary schools in Ireland has fallen on hard times of late. Although the 1999 Revised Curriculum for Irish (Government of Ireland, 1999) specifically states that the recommended communicative approach encompasses all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), it is often interpreted as emphasizing oral at the expense of written language. Perhaps as a result, research of the last decade shows that pupils’ Irish reading ability is suffering. While research on reading in Irish has been fairly limited, it shows rather disappointing results. A study conducted by the Department of Education and Science in 2008 found that "in approximately one third of classes, pupils had significant gaps in their skills of word recognition and reading comprehension" (DES 2008:60). More recently, Gileece et al. (2012) found attitudes toward reading in Irish declining among older children, even in Irish immersion and Gaeltacht schools, where skills are presumably higher than in the schools under consideration here. Finally, the latest evaluation of Irish schools (DES 2013) found Irish lessons to be unsatisfactory in 20% of classrooms inspected and 24% of student outcomes were unsatisfactory, well above the percentages for English and mathematics. Thus, there are grounds for concern, confirmed by reports from Irish teachers and scholars to be discussed below.
- PublicationUnderstanding Irish Spelling: A Handbook for Teachers and LearnersThe focus of this handbook is to describe systematic patterns of spelling in Irish that can be explicitly taught to help pupils relate written Irish words to what they already know of spoken Irish. However, our ultimate goal is to facilitate and encourage Irish reading as a supplement to the classroom experience of spoken Irish, to increase exposure to the language and to build vocabulary and grammar knowledge. This handbook is not a comprehensive course on reading pedagogy, but we hope that it will help to provide teachers with some ideas for approaching the teaching of the relationship between Irish spelling and pronunciation,and perhaps help to enhance their confidence in their own understanding of the orthographic system of Irish. If any readers are dubious about the value of such instruction, we discuss that too, in the next chapters.
- PublicationWhen regular is not easy: Cracking the code of Irish orthographyIrish is well-known to be a threatened minority language, which has a number of under-researched features. This article presents an analysis of Irish orthography, based on the most frequent words in a corpus of children's literature in Irish. We identify both basic orthographic rules and a few phonological rules that systematically alter pronunciations from those expected based on the orthographic norms. While comparison of Irish spelling patterns with those in a similar corpus for English confirms a widespread belief that the orthography of Irish is more regular than that of English (the L1 of most beginning readers of Irish), this analysis refutes the commonly accepted corollary assumption that explicit decoding instruction in Irish is unnecessary for learners already literate in English, based on further examination of other features differentiating the two languages. We argue that, despite its greater regularity, Irish spelling is sufficiently complex and distinct from English to challenge learners and require explicit instruction.
890Scopus© Citations 5
- PublicationIrish orthography: what do teachers and learners need to know about it, and why?Irish has significant State support, but lacks a research base to support the teaching of Irish reading. Current approaches to teaching Irish reading are presented, and outcomes summarised. Issues of consistency and complexity in Irish orthography are discussed in light of an analysis of a corpus of early reader texts, and the formulation of rules for discriminating between words which are regular by letter-sound and grapheme-sound rules is outlined. While the most frequent words show a high level of regularity, underlying rules are very complex. The need to target decoding skills early is discussed. Recommendations regarding the teaching of aspects of Irish orthography are presented.
1138Scopus© Citations 11