Spring Newsletter - Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

Spring 2007
Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas
Volume 4 Issue 3
The 5 BIG Ideas for Reading Instruction
*Based on information from National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read and Put Reading First: The Research Building Block for Teaching Children to Read
As educators, we all have had students who are
struggling with reading. Having a student who
is below grade level in their reading abilities causes
great concern for both the teacher and the parent. We
all know that reading failure has long term consequences for
the child in developing self-confidence, motivation to learn,
and in school performance. Unfortunately, there are no
easy answers or quick solutions for students who are
struggling with reading.
In 2000, the National Reading Panel reviewed more
than 1,000 scientifically based studies on Reading and
published information regarding what we know works for
helping students become successful readers. The National
Reading Panel breaks reading instruction into five
categories: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency,
vocabulary and text comprehension. This article will
briefly summarize the 5 big ideas for reading.
1. PHONEMIC AWARENESS is the student’s ability to
hear, identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken
words. Phonemic awareness is critical because it improves
the child’s ability to read words and comprehend meaning
and it also is a key factor in helping children learn to spell.
Phonemic Awareness instruction should focus on
helping the student to notice, think about and manipulate
sounds in spoken language. Activities to teach phonemic
awareness include:
 Phoneme isolation- recognizing the individual sounds
in a word.
Teacher: What is the first sound in dog?
Children: The first sound in dog is /d/.
 Phoneme identity- recognizing the same sound in
different words.
Teacher: What sound is the same in can, call, and cat?
Children: The first sound /c/ is the same.
 Phoneme categorization- recognizing a word in a set
of three or four words that has the “odd” sound.
Teacher: Which word doesn’t belong? dig, dog, tug
Students: Tug does not belong, it does not begin
with /d/.
 Phoneme blending-students listen to separately spoken
phonemes and then they combine the phonemes to form
a word. Then, they write and read the word.
Teacher: What word is /g/ /o/ /d/?
Children: /g/ /o/ /d/ is God.
Teacher: Now let’s write the sounds in God: /g/, write G;
/o/, write o; /d/, write d.
Teacher: Write God on the board, then read the word.
 Phoneme segmentation- students break a word into its
separate sounds, saying each sound as they tap it out or
count it. Then they write and read the word.
Teacher: How many sounds are in rug?
Children: /r/ /u/ /g/. Three sounds.
Teacher: Write the sounds in rug: /r/, write r; /u/, write u;
/g/, write g.
Teacher: Write rug on the board. Read the word rug.
2. PHONICS INSTRUCTION helps the children to learn
the relationship between the letters of the written language
and the sounds of the spoken language. Phonics instruction
is important because it leads to the understanding of the
alphabetic principal.
To maximize the impact of classroom phonics
instruction it should be systematic and explicit. Systematic
instruction requires careful planning for instruction of lettersound relationships that are organized in a logical sequence.
In addition, phonics programs should provide
explicit instructions for the teacher on how to teach lettersound relationships. It is essential that students are
provided with many opportunities to apply what they are
learning about letter sound relationships to the reading of
words, sentences and stories.
3. FLUENCY is the ability to read text accurately and
quickly. When students are fluent readers they have the
freedom to understand what they are reading. Reading
fluency growth is most significant when the students work
with the teacher. Therefore, silent reading is not an
effective classroom strategy to increase student reading
fluency. Fluency develops as a result of many opportunities
to practice reading with a high degree of success.
How can you help your students to become more fluent
 Model fluent reading, then have the students reread
the text independently.
 Have the students repeatedly read passages aloud
with guidance- student/adult reading, choral reading,
tape assisted reading partner reading, and readers’
theatre are all effective strategies to practice repeated
reading in the classroom.
4. VOCABULARY refers to the words that we must know
to communicate effectively. Vocabulary is critical to the
reading process for two reasons. First, beginning readers
use their oral vocabulary to make sense of the words they
seen in print. Second, readers must know what most of the
words mean before they can understand what they are
Scientific research on vocabulary instructions
reveals two important findings. First, most vocabulary is
learned indirectly, through everyday experiences with oral
and written language. Second, some vocabulary must be
explicitly taught by the teacher.
Children learn word meaning indirectly in three ways:
 They engage in daily oral language. Students need to
have conversations with adults where new and
interesting words are used by the adult and the
vocabulary words are repeated often.
 They listen to adults read to them. Reading aloud is
most helpful when the reader pauses during reading to
define an unfamiliar word and engages students in a
conversation about the book.
 They read extensively on their own.
Specific word instruction can deepen student’s knowledge
of word meaning and help the student to understand what
they are hearing or reading. Word learning strategies
 Using dictionaries and other reference aids
 Knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, base words and root
 Using context clues
5. TEXT COMPREHENSION is the reason for reading.
If readers can read the words but do not understand what
they are reading, they are not really reading.
Text comprehension can be improved by utilizing the
following strategies:
 Graphic organizers – maps, webs, graphs, charts, or
 Semantic maps/webs
 Question-answering instruction- guiding student
learning through teacher/text questions.
 Generating questions- teaching students to ask their
own questions to integrate information from the text.
 Recognizing story structure- setting, initiating event,
internal reactions, goals, attempts, and outcomes.
 Summarizing- synthesizing the important ideas in the
To order a FREE copy of the National Reading Panel:
Teaching Children to Read (2000) or Put Reading First:
The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to
Read (2003) go to www.nationalreadingpanel.org.
Look in this book of the LORD and read;
No one of these shall be lacking, for the
mouth of the LORD has ordered it, and his
spirit shall gather them there.
Isaiah 34:16
Did You Know?
Did you know…
Students must learn 3000 to 4000 new vocabulary
words a year to acquire an average adult
Fourth and fifth grade students encounter about
10,000 words a year that they have never seen in
print before…
Students have a one in twenty chance of learning a
new word in context…
*Based on information from the International Reading
Association www.reading.org.
Transition Reminder
Maintain and document communication that
may occur with public school special education
professionals with whom you may be working
(resource teachers, speech therapists,
occupational therapists and physical therapists).
Maintain (and document) communication with
parents regarding student’s progress.
Document any new accommodations and
modifications and their effectiveness.
Upcoming Training Opportunities
*This is not to be considered an endorsement of these in-services,
merely a listing of upcoming in-service opportunities.
Student Improvement Team Training
April 16th and 17th
Lecompton, Kansas
$75.00 per person
To register go to www.studentimprovementteam.org
Strength Based Strategies for Students with
ADD/ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome
April 11, 2007
Ramada Inn Downtown Topeka
For more information go to www.SDE.com.