Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is this about?

Comprehension is an important part of reading. Sometimes children have trouble with comprehension because they are worried about all the other things going on in the reading, particularly phonemic awareness and fluency. Children who struggle with reading often have the most difficulty with comprehension.

One way to help children with comprehension is a fill in the blank story. You an take a common story like The Three Little Pigs and create fill in the blanks. For instance, "Once upon a ---- there were three little pigs." Children will learn to use context clues to fill in the blank to make the story make sense. This is a fun and unique way for children to work on comprehension.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miscues: Reading Strategies

Has this happened to you when you listen to a beginning reader? The text says, "Dad cooked a meal and the rain came down," and your child reads, "Dad cooked a mill and the rain comes down." You might be thinking, "oh no what do I do she missed two words in the sentence." But don't worry this ok. Beginning readers often have many miscues while reading. Miscues refer the he readers' unexpected responses to written text.

When listening to children read, many teachers and adults refer to miscues as errors. Errors are perceived as negative and teachers often correct these errors for children. It is believed if teachers don't intervene and correct these errors then children will continue to make them all their lives. "However,after a half century of miscue analysis research and practice,there is no doubt that ALL readers make miscues and that reading development CANNOT occur without them (Brown, Goodman, Marek 1996). Also, we must trust the child's learning process. Their miscues will change over time with practice and as the child learns from the text as they read. Children will develop reading strategies and their miscues will become more sophisticated.

Some ways to support children's growth are demonstrate reading strategies and demonstrate what a miscue is and what you did to make the miscue and how you learned from it. When teachers model this they instill confidence in their students and it helps students see that everyone makes miscues even teachers. Another way is to record a child as they read a text. Then have the child listen to the recording of themselves with you. They can hear their miscues and both the teacher and the child can work together to develop strategies. It's a team effort and the teacher is not correct the miscues they are working with the child so that the child identifies their own miscues and develops strategies to prevent and improve miscues.

References: Owocki, Gretchen and Goodman, Yetta. 2002. Kid watching: Documenting children's literacy development. Portsmouth: NH:Heinemann.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sounding Out

Growing up many of us learned to read through sounding out our words. Children today still learn this approach, but how effective is it? Many children find it difficult to use the sounding out approach. The trouble is that there are many words in the English language that have silent letters or can be pronounced a number of ways. One way that children define a good reader is someone who can sound out all the words on the page.

While sounding out can work for some, it does not work for all. Sounding out works on phonemic awareness, but once the child takes all that time to sound out a word in the sentence they are less likely to remember what it was about. They don't comprehend what they are reading when they are so focused on getting every word on the page right.

A great way to teach reading is through meaning, structure, and visual representation. What is the story about? What do you think will happen? Look at the pictures and see what is going on. A lot can be said from a picture. Look at the text pattern.  All these are great strategies to use with children who are learning to read. Once a child had a good understanding of what the story is about and the pictures then they can begin sounding out words.