Text scale regarding sentence, word and syllable composition. Phonology

Text Analysis    Based on the Fry Readability rating, a 545 word sample taken from The Quest for the Tree Kangaroo placed the text between a seventh and eighth grade reading level. There is a total of 44 sentences with an average of 12 words per sentence. A total of 70% of the words from this sample were single syllable words and about 20% have double syllable words. A total of 332 words of the text are composed of unique or tier two words such as rarest and creatures. The other 232 words of the text are composed of repeat words such as at and to. The Raygor scale provided similar results, except it placed the text at a fourth grade reading level. It showed similar results to the Fry scale regarding sentence, word and syllable composition.   Phonology I know from the Developmental Spelling Assessment that students of all language backgrounds will differ in their abilities when it comes to word identification and spelling. Considering the Polish speakers in the class, I noted several differences between English and Polish consonants as well as rules for their pronunciation. The phonemes /t/ and /d/, for example, are produced dentally in Polish as opposed to the English voiced and voiceless /d/ and /t/. This production may result in slight distortions, especially, when combined with voicing and aspiration differences between English and Polish. Another difference between the two languages is that the Polish /s/ is never pronounced as /z/ and the Polish /g/ is always hard like in game, but never soft like in gene.          The differences between Spanish and English are more familiar to me since I have been exposed to more Spanish speaking ELLs. Some phonological differences identified in the text include the /h/ sound that Spanish speakers will omit because that letter does not exist in Spanish. Other issues I noticed within the text was the lack of Spanish cognates. It is usually beneficial for Spanish speaking ELLs to be able to make connections on a morphological level between languages, however, this text provided for very little transfer between English and Spanish. Phonologically, “Spanish speakers may have difficulty differentiating between vowel phonemes in words like seat and sit” (Colorin Colorado, n.d.).     Some Spanish language learners will encounter issues regarding “vowel sounds and stress” (Coe et al., 1987) because they are different in the home language. Researchers Coe et al. have also determined that “Spanish has only 3 double-letter combinations, cc, ll and rr …” while “English has 5 times as many and Spanish learners often reduce English double letters to a single one or over compensate by doubling a letter unnecessarily” (1987). The researchers also added that “Spanish has a strong correspondence between sound and spelling words” (Coe et al., 1987), unlike English which has words and spellings that do not always correlate.   Both Spanish and Polish use their consonant /j/, which is silent, but sounds like the English /y/ or /h/. The words fly and you’ll from the text may be problematic for speakers of these languages for this phonological reason. The English digraphs /sh/, /th/, /ou/ and /au/ among others do not exist in Spanish. There is also the habit of some Spanish learners to place a vowel at the beginning of words because in the home language, a vowel is almost always placed in front of a consonant, such as in especiale. Opposite to the English prefixes, which include numerous examples and are usually derivational (pre, post, un), Spanish more simply follows the vowel before the consonant rule at a word’s beginning. Diphthongs are yet another aspect of phonology that English learners may take some time to learn. The Spanish language has “5 pure vowels and 5 diphthongs” (Coe et al., 1987), whereas “English has 12 pure vowels and 8 diphthongs” (Coe et al., 1987). Problems that may arise from this fact is the potential to mispronounce or be unable to distinguish the sounds in words, for example “taught/tot or fool/full” (Coe et al., 1987). Examples from the text are the difference in pronunciation of the ea diphthong in leap, each, and beautiful. Whereas leap and each may be pronounced correctly due to the fact that the reader may remember the vowel sound/word relationship, the word beautiful is a bit more elusive and more difficult to hear when said out loud. MorphologyContent vocabulary is one aspect of morphology that deserves attention in regard to this informational science text. There are good number of words that I predict students will have difficulty with such as habitat, glacier, volcano, expedition, erupting, tropical and rainforest. Basic reading skills will not always help students to understand the meaning of a new word as they encounter them in reading, however, reading widely and regularly is a piece of advice that I can remember hearing from teachers throughout my own education. I would like to believe that such a practice would also enhance the morphological skills of English learners. This belief is supported by researchers in the article, “Closing the gap”.  As noted by Carlo et al. and according