Reading is a complex task that needs to be broken down into its individual components for students to learn effectively. To improve reading and the underlying reading skills is to bring joy to the face and heart of a child. But, in order to improve reading skills, explicit teaching, consistency and practice must be addressed. These basic tips improve reading skills quicker than any other considerations. I will take each idea one at a time and explain its implication for reading.
Explicit teaching to improve reading means that we teach specific skills to achieve focused out comes. In order to teach explicitly it is important that one goal is identified. It should be a small goal that will be built on, to achieve a much larger our-come. For example, you might choose accurate reading as your BIG goal and break that down into its individual parts; sounding, meaning and knowing the order that words appear in a sentence (grammar. The next level might concentrate on making sure that the student sounds the first three letters of word and blends them and then reads on to gather meaning and then re-reads to predict the unknown word. This is still too large a step to reading accurately. This skill would have to be broken down into even smaller parts. The skill in this case is to teach the student how to sound the first three letters of a longer word and then blend those sounds. We can now clearly see the underlying skill is phonological awareness and is blending sounds without letters. This one baseline skill could be implemented easily. Taking a list of three and four letter words stretch each word into its individual sounds and have the child name the word. The teacher or adult needs to explain why this skill is so important, then demonstrate what you want to see the child complete and practice, practice and more practice. This mini skill can be practised as the child goes out the door at morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and tea time with no effort at all. Once this skill is consolidated, work on the next skill and so on.
Consistency is quality performance over an extended period of time. This trait can be broken into awareness of how the skill is developing, making sure that the skill is practised at all times when reading and being positive about being a great reader. A beginning or struggling reader has to be diligent in making sure that good habits are being developed each and every day and believe that what he sows will eventually be reaped.
Some children think that one or two practices a week will ensure that the skill is developed. But, we all know, if we want to achieve anything, it takes persistent and consistent practice. This can be anything from riding a bike to learning how to play an instrument. The child that practices the instrument on a daily basis will achieve a lot higher standard a lot quicker than a child who practises only when the urge arises. Never underestimate the importance of PRACTICE, if you do, it is at your child’s peril.
In conclusion, to improve reading, explicit teaching, consistency and practice must be considered and implemented. These are powerful strategies to take control of your child’s reading improvement and ultimately his future.
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Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas.
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Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above.
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