This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By Nancy Solis & Kelley Villarreal
When teachers start teaching children how to read they use several reading concepts to help them understand the importance of reading. In order to become a “good reader” teachers apply the following concepts: alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension. These concepts help teachers elaborate a good method to start molding the students in becoming good readers.
Even before students enter school they come with some knowledge of understanding what letters are. Usually they are not familiar with the meaning or purpose of the letters but they make the connection with words that they are familiar with. Many children are accustomed to seeing signs and associating them to what they know. For example, when they see the letter “M” on the word McDonalds they associate it with food. It is important for children to understand the alphabetic principle because it is the first step in the formation of words and reading. When learning the alphabet students learn to distinguish between a consonant and a vowel. The students should be aware and understand the systematic of the relation between the letters and spoken sound as per the alphabetic principle.
Phonemic awareness is the ability for the children to make the connection between the sound and letter to make a word. This can help the children see that each letter can be manipulated with other letters to form a word. Many schools use this concept because it helps build the students metalinguistic knowledge. One instruction used to teach phonemic awareness would be blending sounds to form words. For example, having the letters c, a, p making the word “cap” the students will then replace the first letter with a “t” making the word “tap”.
Once the children have achieved the understanding of letter and sound relationship then they are able to identify words in their surroundings. Fluency is also measured by timing each child individually by reading a passage for a minute. Teachers at this point start assessing children to see if they grasp the relationship between letters and sounds by providing them with a series of reading strategies to see if they are fluent in reading. Some of the reading strategies used by the teacher to help improve and maintain the fluency of readers are coral reading, cloze reading, and buddy reading. Coral reading is when the student and teacher read out loud together. Cloze reading is when the teacher reads out loud for the student while the student is silently reading and following along. Buddy reading is when the students read together with a partner.
Comprehension is the child’s ability to understand what they are reading. In order for the student to be successful in reading they should have mastered all the other concepts. Teachers use various types of strategies to determine the student’s comprehension. Overall, the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension all go hand in hand in helping the teacher successfully gather all the data regarding the child’s ability to understand and read proficiently.