How can we teach all children to read accurately, rapidly, and with comprehension by the end of the grade?
It is summarized several decades of scientific research that clearly shows effective reading instruction addresses five critical areas:
• Phonemic awareness-Phonemic awareness is commonly defined as the understanding that spoken words are made up of separate units of sound that are blended together when words are pronounced. However, it can also be thought of as skill at hearing and producing the separate sounds in words, dividing or segmenting words into their component sounds, blending separate sounds into words, and recognizing words that sound alike or different.
• Phonics- We define phonics as a set of rules that specify the relationship between letters in the spelling of words and the sounds of spoken language. For the English language, these relationships are predictable, but not completely consistent. However, they are consistent enough to be very useful to young children in helping them learn to decode unfamiliar words.
• Fluency-Studies of fluency expanded this understanding that involve grouping words within a sentence into phrases that make what is read easier to comprehend. Grouping words into meaningful phrases and reading with expression helps the reader understand the text by making what is being read resemble natural speech. Therefore, we now understand that fluency is recognizing the words in a text rapidly and accurately and using phrasing and emphasis in a way that makes what is read sound like spoken language.
• Vocabulary-The term vocabulary refers to words we need to know to communicate with others. There are four types of vocabulary: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Listening and speaking vocabularies are sometimes referred to collectively as oral vocabulary.Vocabulary also plays an important role in comprehension. Much of the research dealing with the effects of vocabulary instruction on comprehension has involved children in upper-elementary grades and above; however, the findings have implications for improving comprehension in younger children as well.
• Comprehension-Comprehension involves constructing meaning that is reasonable and accurate by connecting what has been read to what the reader already knows and thinking about all of this information until it is understood. Comprehension is the final goal of reading instruction. While fluent decoding is an essential component of skilled reading, it should be considered a prerequisite to strong comprehension rather than an end in itself.