What is phonological awareness? Phonological awareness involves the auditory and oral manipulation of sounds. It refers generally to the awareness of words, syllables, or phonemes (individual speech sounds). Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness. It refers specifically to the awareness of individual sounds in words such as /s/ /i/ /t/ in sit. WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN The spoken words consist of individual sounds (phonemes). How words can be segmented (pulled apart) into sounds, and how these sounds can be blended (put back together) and manipulated (added, deleted, and substituted). How to use their phonemic awareness to blend sounds to read words and to segment sounds in words to spell them. Why is phonological awareness important? An understanding of how to detect, break apart, blend, and manipulate the sounds in spoken language is needed in order for students to understand letter-sound associations. Students must understand that words are made up of speech sounds, or phonemes. Research indicates that the most critical phonemic awareness skills are blending and segmenting (NICHHD, 2001). HOW TO TEACH IT Phonemic Awareness Provide explicit and systematic instruction focusing on only one or two phonemic awareness skills at a time, such as segmenting and blending. Link sounds to letters as soon as possible using letters as manipulatives for segmenting and blending activities. Use screening and progress monitoring phonemic awareness assessments to inform instruction. Provide intensive interventions for students who are not making adequate progress. Time: Allow 20 hours of targeted instruction throughout each year with individual sessions of no more than 30 minutes. Grouping: small group instruction is preferable to individual or whole group instruction. Use active teaching strategies such as modeling, demonstration, and explanation. Phonics What is phonics? Phonics is the understanding that there is a relationship between sounds (phonemes) and their spellings (graphemes). WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN Accurate and rapid identification of the letters of the alphabet. The alphabetic principle (an understanding that the sequence of sounds or phonemes in a spoken word are represented by letters in a written word. Phonics elements (e.g., letter-sound correspondences, spelling patterns, syllables and meaningful words parts). How to apply phonics elements as they read and write. Why is phonics instruction important? Phonics instruction helps beginning readers understand the relationship between letters and sounds. It teaches students to use these relationships to read and write. Research has shown that direct systematic phonics instruction is appropriate and beneficial for advancing students’ skills from kindergarten on (NICHHD, 2001). HOW TO TEACH IT Provide explicit, systematic phonics instruction that teaches sound-symbol relationships in sequence. Provide explicit instruction in blending sounds to read words. Include practice in reading texts that are written for students to use their phonics knowledge to decode words. Provide ample opportunities for students to practice spelling words they can decode and decoding words they can spell. Use screening and progress monitoring assessment to inform phonics instruction. Provide intensive instruction to students who are not making adequate progress in decoding, using diagnostic assessment to target specific sound-syllable associations or decoding skills with which students need additional practice. Fluency What is fluency? Why is fluency important? WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO TEACH IT Fluency is the ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression (also called prosody). All three elements contribute to effective reading comprehension. Students who can decode print accurately and effortlessly and who can make it sound like talking when they read aloud will better comprehend what they read. How to decode isolated words accurately. How to read connected text automatically with appropriate speed, accuracy, and expression. Studies show that 75% of students with comprehension difficulties have underlying fluency issues (Duke, 2001). Research links standardized achievement test scores and fluency rate, the number of words read correctly per minute (Fuchs, L.S., Fuchs, D., Hosp, M., Jenkins, J., and Joseph R., 2001). Fluency instruction improves reading achievement (National Reading Panel, 2000). Provide opportunities for students to practice reading isolated words. Provide opportunities for students to practice repeated oral reading with guidance from teachers, peers (e.g., partner reading) and/or parents. Provide opportunities for students to real aloud in groups (e.g., choral reading) or to reread text independently (e.g., reading along with audiotape). Periodic assessment of reading fluency to monitor student progress toward achieving established fluency benchmarks. Vocabulary Instruction What is vocabulary development? • Vocabulary is the knowledge of words and their meanings. Vocabulary development focuses on words beyond basic sight words. It involves words that are rich in meaning. • Oral vocabulary is the set of words for which students know the meanings when they are spoken or read aloud to them. Emergent readers have a much larger oral vocabulary than print vocabulary. Developing students’ oral vocabulary will help them to better comprehend text read to them. Oral vocabulary also helps readers make sense of words they see in print. WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN The meanings for most of the words in a text so they can understand what they read. How to apply a variety of strategies to learn words meanings. How to make connections between words and concepts. How to accurately use words in oral and written language. Why is vocabulary development important? Reading and writing vocabulary are words for which students know the meanings when they read and write them. Comprehension of text depends on understanding the words in a selection, and competent writing requires extensive and specific word knowledge. Students learn the meanings of many words indirectly as they listen to spoken language and read, but expanding students’ vocabulary must include direct instruction in specific word meaning. HOW TO TEACH IT Provide direct, explicit instruction to help students learn word meanings. Provide many opportunities for students to read in and out of school to encourage indirect learning of vocabulary. Introduce new vocabulary in multiple contexts. Engage children in daily interactions that promote using new vocabulary in both oral and written language. Enrich and expand the vocabulary knowledge of English language learners. Actively involve students connecting concepts and words. Text Comprehension What is Comprehension? Comprehension is an essential part of successfully developing 21st century literacies. It is a vital tool for reading in our modern age, a vehicle through which we: ▪ gain meaning from the words someone else has constructed, ▪ learn something new, to confirm something we think, ▪ understand another’s viewpoint WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN How to read both narrative and expository texts. How to understand and remember what they read. How to relate their own knowledge or experiences to text. How to use comprehension strategies to improve their comprehension. How to communicate with others about what they read. Why is Comprehension important? Without “thinking, wondering, and pondering,” as I call it, reading becomes simply word calling. That type of “reading” has little or no benefit to the reader or those that might listen to him. HOW TO TEACH IT Explicitly explain, model and teach comprehension strategies such as monitoring, use of graphic and semantic organizers, asking and answering questions, previewing and summarizing; use of multiple strategies (e.g., cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching). Provide opportunities for students to practice using strategies when reading connected narrative and expository text. Include pre-reading, reading, and postreading comprehension activities during instruction. Promote thinking and extend discourse by asking questions and encouraging student questions and discussions. Provide extended opportunities for English language learners to participate. Use screening and progress monitoring assessment to track the progress of individual students. Follow up with diagnostic assessment to target specific strategies with which students may need additional intervention.