Monday, February 27, 2012

Comprehension is key

Teaching children how to read is a daunting task. Getting them to be able to recognize letters, know all of their sounds, what they create when they fit together and what those words mean as a whole is a lot to do. It's no wonder many children have a hard time learning how to read. The largest and most important part about learning how to read, however, is comprehension. Sure, if you can read the sounds and words that the letters make that's great, but if you do not understand what the writer is trying to say in their writing there really is no point in being able to read. Comprehending the messages in writing and books is one of the most influential parts of teaching how to read. There are a number of different strategies that can be implemented when teaching children how to read and using these strategies is key in ensuring comprehension in new readers. One of the most beneficial ideas to instill in children when they get lost and stop comprehending is asking them to try to remember when they stopped following the story or where they stopped comprehending. Getting children to realize when they are comprehending is important because later on they will be able to self correct when their mind starts to drift away from what they are reading.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Leveled Reading!

Many teachers rely on leveled books to correctly teach their students how to read and to keep them on the right track toward becoming a proficient reader. Although there are many good aspects of leveled books, there are also many negative traits as well. The original thought process behind the leveled books is to make reading easier for students and to make sure that the reading is at their particular level. However, reading only leveled books can hinder students' reading capabilities by not allowing them to try to read books that may be a bit harder than their teacher thinks would fit their reading level. This prevents children from being able to learn from their mistakes when trying to read more difficult books. Children can gain a lot from attempting to read books above their reading level. Also, placing children in a particular reading level can be a very subjective process because levels are not always the same for each child. Children have different needs in different areas and placing them all in the same group does not help each student individually to succeed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sounding it out or not?

I have always thought that if I did not know how to say a word that I should sound it out to find out what it is. According to some teachers, sounding words out is not a good idea. Some say that if a beginning reader sounds a word out they are only making the sounds of each letter individually instead of seeing the word as a whole. This will then hinder their reading because the child will not be able to figure out how the word is really supposed to be pronounced. During my field experience last week, the kindergarten teacher spent a majority of the day talking about "stretching out" the words that the children did not know. While I was observing the children reading individually, I noticed that many of them were trying to read books that were above their reading level and they spent a lot of time stretching out the words they did not know. Although this was helpful some of the time in decoding the words, I noticed that they would sound the word out letter by letter and although they made the noises of each letter they often did not put all of the sounds together to figure out the full word. They would simply move on through the book sounding out letter noises, but not reading the full words or comprehend anything that was happening in the story. I think that for beginning readers, sounding or stretching words out is not the best practice, but for more advanced readers, it can be a good tool to use.