- Instant Reader
- August 31, 2017, 11:43 pm
Difficulties in learning to read result from combination of factors. It has been generally accepted that children who are most at-risk for reading failure are those who enter school with limited exposure to language and storytelling and who have little prior understanding of concepts related to phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, print awareness, the purposes of reading and general verbal skills, including vocabulary (NRP 2000).
The National Reading Panel (NRP) an independent body responsible for the ?No Child Left Behind Act, created and commissioned by the US Department of Education and National Institute for Child and Health Development (NICHD) were task to review past and current researches in reading. They openly found out that there was a clear and distinct pattern that children go through as they learn to read. It starts with phoneme awareness explicitly and systematically taught leading to reading fluency which ultimately develops reading comprehension skills.
Reading is difficult to learn – reading and writing involve several steps. First, the reader must be able to recognize the phonemes or the individual sounds inside words. Next, he or she must understand what is known as the alphabetic principle, or the written coding of those phonemes. Then, once acquired, these skills must be applied to written text in a rapid and fluent manner. This ability depends on the reader possessing a strong vocabulary as well as understanding the basic syntactic and grammatical rules of their language. Finally, the reader must also comprehend the words they have read by thinking critically about them and applying them to their own experiences and their understanding of the world.
Because reading is an unnatural, multi-step process, the only way to teach children to read and comprehend what they are reading is through direct, individualized instruction and routine intervention. This means teachers and parents have to take time to specifically address individual gaps in any of the above-mentioned steps. For many children, the only way to learn the decoding and comprehension process inherent in reading skills is through targeted work that many educational systems and programs lack.
It is important to understand that children won‘t become fluent readers until they have the proper foundation of phonemes established in the initial stages of learning reading. Comprehension only follows when the two are in proper place and sequence.
In the initial stages of reading development, learning phoneme awareness and phonics skills and practicing these skills with texts is critical. Children must also acquire fluency and automaticity in decoding and word recognition. Consider that a reader has only so much attention and memory capacity. If beginning readers read the words in a laborious, inefficient manner, they cannot remember what they read, much less relate the ideas to their background knowledge. Thus, the ultimate goal of reading instruction--for children to understand and enjoy what they read-will not be achieved.
Let me repeat, in kindergarten and first grade, phoneme awareness is one of the most essential and non-negotiable component that must be carefully integrated in their reading lessons in order to reach proficiency level in their reading skill needed in higher grade levels.
Learning to read is a lengthy and difficult process for 95% of the children, and success in learning to read is based in large part on developing language and literacy-related skills very early in life. A massive effort needs to be undertaken to inform parents, and the educational and medical communities, of the need to involve children in reading from the first days of life; to engage children in playing with language through nursery rhymes, storybooks, and writing activities; and, as early as possible, to bring to children experiences that help them understand the purposes of reading, and the wonder and joy that can be derived from it. Parents must become intimately aware of the importance of vocabulary development and the use of verbal interactions with their youngsters to enhance grammar, syntax, and verbal reasoning.
Reading is difficult to learn. Difficulty linking letters with sounds is the source of reading problems for many children. Some children encounter obstacles in learning to read because they do not derive meaning from the material that they read. A major factor that limits the amount of improvement children may make in reading is related to motivation.
As evidence mounts that reading difficulties originate in large part from difficulties in developing phoneme awareness, phonics, spelling skills, reading fluency, and reading comprehension strategies, the need for informed instruction for the millions of children with insufficient reading skills is an increasingly urgent problem. Unfortunately several recent studies and surveys of teacher knowledge about reading development and difficulties indicate that many teachers are underprepared to teach reading.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Teacher Vicki the author and founder of Instant Reader™ . My 25 years in the teaching field continues to strengthen my conviction that an effective and proper reading foundation indeed gives any child a significant edge not just in school but life in totality. Children who are early readers are lovers of learning. They lead, they stand out and are able to unleash their full potentials.
I want to hear from you. Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are very much welcome. It’s always great to keep on learning from each other.
( BS Development Communication, UP Los Banos; M.A.in Education, UP Diliman; Diploma in Dyslexia , Blackford Centre for Dyslexia, UK, London)