What to do with kids to master the skills they need to learn to read?

In nearly every conversation about reading instruction, educators talk about different pedagogical approaches and different philosophies, as if one is equal to another. But what happens to these kids if they don’t get the right kind of reading instruction?


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Tips for teachers

Support. Provide children with more support when first teaching a task. For example, model a sound or strategy for making the sound, and have the children use the strategy to produce the sound. Model and practice several examples. Prompt the children to use the strategy during guided practice, and gradually add more examples.

Demonstrations. Model and demonstrate how to break short sentences into individual words. For example, use the sentence “Frogs eat bugs,” and demonstrate with chips, cards, or other manipulatives how the sentence is made up of three words and how the order of the words matters. Using manipulatives to make sentences, play with each word and put it in order.

Make a system

Make sure kids know how books are organized. They should be taught the basics about books–that they are read from left to right and top to bottom, that print may be accompanied by pictures or graphics, that the pages are numbered, and that the purpose of reading is to gain meaning from the text and understand ideas that words convey.

Tips for teachers

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The phonics method

The smallest word-part that carries meaning is a phoneme. Reading relies on an individual’s ability to decode words into a series of sounds. Encoding is the opposite process and is how we spell.