In schools today, many children have difficulty reading. This could result in a child’s lack of self-confidence and motivation to learn. While there are no quick solutions for improving students’ reading achievement, there are skills children must learn for them to read well. These five areas of reading instruction are findings from the National Reading Panel Report.
Phonemic Awareness Instruction
Phonemic awareness is not the same as Phonics. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds. It is understanding that sounds put together make words. Phonics is understanding the relationship between the sound and the letter. Phonemic awareness can be taught and learned. It helps children learn to read and spell. Throughout The Good Curriculum bridging course (Kindergarten 1, Kindergarten 2, Grade 1), we have incorporated (8) kinds of exercises to build phonemic awareness, which include:
- Phoneme isolation – recognizing individual sounds in a word.
- Phoneme identity – recognizing the same sounds in different words.
- Phoneme categorization – recognizing the word which has the odd sound.
- Phoneme blending – listening and combining sounds to form a word.
- Phoneme segmentation – breaking a words into its separate sounds.
- Phoneme deletion – recognizing the word when a phoneme is removed from another word.
- Phoneme addition – making a new word by adding a phoneme to a word.
- Phoneme substitution – substituting one phoneme for another to make a new word.
Phonics instruction teaches students the relationship between the letters and the sounds. It is most effective when it is taught in kindergarten or grade 1. In the Good Curriculum bridging course, children learn phonics in kindergarten 1, 2, and grade 1. We start with teaching single phonograms （b, p）and multiple phonograms （th, igh）and their sounds, with a lot of practice reading words, sentences and short stories.
Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. Fluency provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Fluent readers sound natural, whereas non-fluent readers’ reading is choppy. This is because fluent readers no longer need to concentrate on decoding the words, and can focus on what the text means. Researchers have found that most students need up to four rereading of the same text in order to reach fluency. They have also found that audio tapes, tutors, and peer guidance help with students’ oral reading practice. The Good Curriculum is video-based, which means students are able to go back and reread any text at any time. We also have a supplementary reading program with books for all levels.
Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively. Oral vocabulary refers to the words we use in speaking or recognize in listening. Reading vocabulary refers to words we recognize or use in print. Vocabulary can be developed indirectly, when students speak to each other, when they
listen to others read to them, or when they read on their own. Vocabulary can also be developed directly, when students are taught individual words and word learning strategies such as：using the dictionary and other reference tools, using word parts to figure out the meanings of words in texts, and using context clues to guess the meaning of the words. The Good Curriculum provides opportunities for both indirect and direct ways to develop vocabulary.
Text comprehension instruction
Text comprehension is the reason for reading. It can be developed by teaching comprehension strategies such as：graphic or word organizers, answering questions, generating questions, recognizing story structure, and summarizing. In the Good Curriculum bridging course, after students read a text, they are given questions to answer, they will need to summarize the text, and they will use their reading skills to analyze the text.
To read more about these five skills, google “Put Reading First pdf” and download the booklet.