Definition of Look Say Method

Definition of Look Say Method

The look-see (or say) reading method is also called psycholinguistics (looking at and recognizing the whole word). It is a whole-language approach developed by psychologists. What it does is teach students to learn through rote memorization, and deprives them of the tools used in the Phonics system. Because of this kids become poorer readers as they are forced to “learn to read”. (Joseph William, 2010 : 1)

The look and say teaching method, also known as the whole word method, was invented in the 1830s and soon became a popular method for teaching reading. By the 1930s and 1940s there was a very strong focus on teaching children to read by this method. In the 1950s, however, it was fiercely criticized in favor of phonics-based teaching.(Stephanie, 2009 : 1)

The look and say method teaches students to read words as whole units, rather than breaking the word down into individual letters or groups of letters. Children are repeatedly told the word name while being shown the printed word, perhaps accompanied by a picture or within a meaningful context.

Eventually children learn to ‘sight read’ the word, recognizing it through pattern recognition without any conscious attempt to break the word down into its parts. Over time children build up a larger and larger vocabulary of whole words which they can recognize. (Stephanie, 2009 : 2)

The method of teaching reading prescribed by Frank Smith(2001:183-184),, who contends that to “ensure that phonics skills are learned and used” is one of the “12 easy ways to make learning to read difficult” obviously is the approach that has long been used by look-say reading teachers. Although Smith offers a lengthy, complex and intricate theory as to how children recognize words, which he calls the “feature-analytic alternative” to both the whole-word view of teaching reading and to phonics instruction, the teaching method he recommends is purely look-say. To teach reading, Smith (2004:225).  maintains, “All the teacher can do is providing the raw material, the written word, and its ‘name’’. This is a precise and accurate description of what has traditionally been called the look-say method. In traditional look-say methodology, the child is shown a word, is told its name, and then is instructed to say the word’s name. This procedure is then carried on or continued until the child can read supposedly by sight a large number of words.

Based on definition above researcher can conclude that Look-Say method is effective in improving students reading comprehension because Phonics involves learning the sounds of letters. Students decode words by sounding them out or recognizing the word by sight. Phonics teaches students to associate certain spellings with certain sounds. Once children learn these sound-spelling relationships, they can come up with the pronunciation of words. The theory is that students need to become proficient at decoding words to quickly and accurately read them.


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