So good news. If you are reading this blog, you have been taught to read. However, how did you learn to read? What are the main parts when teaching reading? I’ll give you a hint… there are 5 parts of reading.
I asked that question to a few non-teaching friends recently. They all responded comprehension, and with some additional prodding, they added vocabulary. Both are correct! Now, what are the other 3? For anyone helping kids learn to read it is important to know that it takes all 5 ingredients working together for kids to become successful readers. Adding to comprehension and vocabulary are fluency and phonological and phonemic awareness. Often, students that have difficulty with reading comprehension have difficulty in 1 or more of the other reading components.
Comprehension is what most people think reading is. It is creating a meaning out of a group of individual words. Reading comprehension is the most complex aspect of reading. It includes the other 4 components and requires the reader to think about what they are reading and make connections with their personal knowledge.
Vocabulary is needed for kids to read books. As they become stronger readers, they will tackle more difficult readings with new vocabulary words. When reading with a child ask them to try to figure out a new word by the context clues (hints) in the text. They can look at other words in the sentence, the main idea of the story, or the pictures in the story to provide hints to identify the new word. Like vocabulary, reading comprehension skills develop and improve over time through practice.
Fluency is a reader’s ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. It is important for reading comprehension because it frees up working memory in the brain to spend time comprehending what they are reading. Reading books slightly below your child’s reading level will help build confidence and therefore, increase fluency.
Phonemic Awareness is recognizing parts of words. To see that a word has a beginning, middle and end and makes a new word if you add an ending such as /s/. Phonemic awareness is also blending the parts of words together to make a full word. For example: /h/ and /at/ to form hat. Phonemic awareness also recognizes specific sounds and location in a word. For example: knowing what the first sound in the word “ball”.
Phonological awareness is the connection between sounds and letter symbols. These sound/symbol connections create words. Children need to understand the connection between the individual sounds that each letter makes and how putting the letters together to create a word to understand. Nursery rhymes are great resources to help develop both phonological and phonemic awareness skills.
Top 5 things for parents to do to help their child read
- Read with your child daily.
- Reread books to expose kids to same words to build fluency.
- Ask questions about the story or illustrations.
- Use different vocabulary words in conversations with your child (age dependent)
- Read different types of text. (Ex. magazine, menu, cereal box)
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