“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” Victor Hugo
1. Phonemic Awareness:
Definition: The ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words.
Current research indicates phonemic awareness is the strongest predictor of reading success, even at the high school level. Training in phoneme identification, manipulation, and substitution is essential for early grades and is indispensable in deterring dyslexic tendencies. The basic fundamentals employed can easily be applied to older students.
Phonemic awareness, not intelligence, best predicts reading success.
Definition: Instruction in the ability to draw relationships between the letters (graphemes) of written language and the individual sounds (phonemes) of spoken language. This teaches students to use these relationships to read and write words.
Definition: Instruction in the ability to read text accurately and quickly, either silently or orally.
Neuroscientists are learning more about how fluency is developed. Fluent reading is established after the individual reads the word at least four times, using accurate phonologic processing (slow, accurate sounding out). Fluency is built word by word and entirely dependent on repeated, accurate, sounding out of the specific word. Fluency is not established by "memorizing" what words look like but rather by developing correct neural-phonologic models of the word. We now know fluency is not the apparent visual recognition of an entire word but rather the retrieval of the exact neural model created by proper repeated phonologic processing.
Definition: Instruction in the words necessary for effective communication.
A knowledge of word meaning helps with decoding and also improves reading comprehension.
Definition: Instruction in the ability to understand, to remember, and to communicate meaning from what is read.
Comprehension is accomplished only when the student has moved past the word level and has a strong vocabulary. If decoding is not an automatic process, comprehension will suffer
Reading isn't always loved by all students, so try giving them choice in what they read. When kids are interested in what they read, they might just be excited about reading rather than resenting having to read something they aren't interested in...
Remember, just because it's your favorite book, doesn't make it their favorite book...
Also, how are we promoting reading in our schools? What if we had a sign outside our door with the last book we read, as well as the current book we are reading. What message does that send to our students?