Teaching Word Recognition and Comprehension

Word Recognition (Decoding and Sight Recognition) +
Comprehension = Reading
I can read
all of these
Characteristics of Struggling Readers
• Over reliance on guessing strategies
• May have low language skills
• Limited phonemic awareness
• Limited understanding of phonics
• Memory problems
• Read slowly and hesitantly, or not at all
• Limited understanding about the text they read
• Often become frustrated and avoid reading
Moats (1998)
What Makes a Reader Proficient?
• Development of phonemic awareness
• Understanding of letter-sound correspondence
• Fluency based on automatic recognition of lettersound relationships
• Automatic recognition of sight words
• Rich vocabulary
• Because of a solid foundation in reading skills,
proficient readers have more cognitive resources to
focus on comprehension.
Moats (1998)
What We Know About Reading Instruction
• Systematic and explicit approaches to
instruction are consistently more effective
than approaches that depend on student
discovery and inference.
• The need for explicit instruction extends
beyond phonics. We need to teach
fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension
strategies this way, too.
Critical Elements in Reading Instruction
These elements are taught through an integrated, balanced approach,
and not in isolation.
Receptive Language Strategies
• When providing information, use visuals such as
pictures, charts, time lines, graphic organizers,
webs, calendars, demonstrations, examples.
• Keep instructions concise & emphasize key
• Pre-teach new vocabulary.
• Link new content to prior knowledge.
Expressive Language Strategies
• When child makes a grammatical error,
restate information using correct structures.
• Use higher order thinking questions (explain,
describe, evaluate, compare).
• Engage in story telling.
• Make scrapbooks of events, favorite things,
or collections (discuss with child).
Phonological Awareness
• is a general understanding that spoken words
are made up of sounds.
• is based on processing the sounds of spoken
Examples of Phonological Awareness
• This sentence has 5 words:
The cat ran after me.
• These words rhyme:
cat - bat.
• These words don’t rhyme: ran - bed.
• This word has 2 syllables: af-ter.
• These words start with the same sound:
me - milk.
Phonemic Awareness
• The specific understanding that spoken
words are made up of individual phonemes.
• It is part of phonological awareness.
• Phonemes are the individual sounds in
spoken words. They are the smallest units of
meaningful speech.
Examples of How Phonemic Awareness
Relates to Reading
Blending phonemes into words.
Segmenting words into phonemes.
Deleting a phoneme from a word.
Say “sat” without the /s/.
Adding a phoneme to a word.
Add /m/ to the beginning of “at.”
Manipulating phonemes in words.
Say “bat.” Now change the /b/ to /k/.
Phonemic awareness abilities in kindergarten (or in
that age range) appear to be the best single
predictor of successful reading acquisition.
(A Position Statement from the Board of Directors of the International
Reading Association, 1998)
Phonemic Awareness Skills: Intervention
Make Riddles
Ask students riddles that require them to
manipulate sounds in their heads:
What rhymes with pig and starts with /d/? (dig)
What rhymes with at and starts with /f/? (fat)
What rhymes with dog and starts with /f/?
• “Phonics is a way of teaching reading
that conveys an understanding that
there are correspondences between
phonemes (the sounds of spoken
language) and graphemes (the letters
and spellings that represent those
sounds in written language).”
Reithaug (2002)
• The 26 letters of the English alphabet
represent 44 phonemes.
Phonics: Instructional Strategies
 Teach high frequency words – these are words that are often confused.
 e.g. were/where; was/saw; from/for.
 Teach patterns using onsets and rimes, also known as “word families.”
 e.g. -ack; -ice; -ock, etc.
 Teach chunking longer words into more manageable chunks.
 Teach prefixes, suffixes, and root words.
 Keep instruction in context.
Beers (2003)
“The twenty-five most common words make
up about one-half of our written materials.”
Fry, Kress & Fountoukidis, 2000
“We have over a half-million words to communicate
with, but half of everything we write and read
depends on only 0.02 percent—on only those 100
most frequent words.”
Instant (sight) recognition of words, especially high-frequency words,
develops best when students read large amounts of text.
The student who can read on sight 8 out of the 10 words in the
sentence before them can read that sentence and can usually
decode the remaining words by using phonics, context or picture cues.
Most importantly, they can understand the meaning of what they are
Without adequate high frequency/sight word knowledge, a reader’s
fluency, and therefore their comprehension, is impaired.
Common High Frequency Word Lists
• Dolch
• Edward Fry’s “Instant Word” Lists
• Rebecca Sittons Core Words
•High frequency/sight word knowledge needs to
be assessed frequently and taught strategically.
•Students need to be able to read the word
without sounding it out and with automaticity.
Word Identification in a Balanced
Reading Program
• Teaching letter/sound relationships helps children build
fluency, automaticity and independence.
• Children are encouraged to use alphabetic, semantic
and syntactic cues to identify unfamiliar words.
• Teacher modeling and multiple opportunities to interact
with text leads to the development of word
identification strategies.
Becoming Aware of Language
• When beginning readers and writers explore written
language, they develop critical concepts about
• When children explore oral language, they develop
phonemic awareness and the ability to manipulate
and play with the sounds of language.
Becoming Aware of Language (cont.)
• Phonemic awareness is sequential. Children
become aware of words, syllables, rhyme and
eventually, to individual phonemes.
• A child who has phonemic awareness can identify
the sounds he/she hears, segment words and blend
sounds into words.
What Does Research Say?
• Substantial
identification skills should be taught directly rather
than waiting for children to discover them on their
own and that such skills should be taught early.
• Effective
readers are also strategic; that is, they
learn how and when to use combinations of word
identification skills
(Adams, 1990; Anderson et al., 1985).
Who Is At-Risk?
• Children who overuse context clues and fail to
attend to letter-sound associations may misidentify
words, and that could cause them difficulty in
constructing meaning for a passage (Simon & Leu,
Who is At-Risk? (cont.)
• Children who do not effectively use meaning clues
often sound out nonsense words or are so slow and
laborious in word identification that they cannot
simultaneously draw meaning from the words that
they are reading (Biemiller, 1970; Samuels, 1985).
Why Develop Automaticity?
•The first 300 words make up 65% of all written
material. (Frye)
•Comprehension begins to break down when
students are focused on trying to decode or sound
out the words.
What Are High Frequency Words?
• High frequency words are phonetic and can be
decoded, but occur with such frequency that they
often need to be learned before their specific
phonics pattern is taught.
• Examples of frequently occurring words: the, in, I, a,
go, to, that, with, about, please
What Are Sight Words?
• Sight words are words, usually Anglo-Saxon in origin,
that must be memorized because of their nonphonetic structure and high degree of usage.
• Examples of nonphonetic words: come, said, was,
two and through
What Are High Interest Words?
• High interest words are words with special interest or
emotional overtones and are frequently used and
recognized by students in their personal reading
and writing.
• Examples of high interest words: mom, dad,
Importance of Recognizing Words for
Independent Reading
• Enables use of context clues.
• Increases fluency and ease of reading
• Children can read greater amounts and for longer
• Focus can be more on comprehension than on
California Language
Arts Standards
1.0 Decoding and word recognition
• Kinder 1.15
Read simple one syllable and high
frequency words (i.e.: sight words)
• 1st 1.11
Read common, irregular sight words (e.g.
the, have said, come give, of)
• 2nd 1.6
Read aloud fluently and accurately with
appropriate intonation and expression
Instructional Implications
• Rhyme awareness activities
• Sound awareness activities
• Teaching onset and rime/analogy strategy
• Letter-sound activities
• Multi-letter chunking
• Visual discrimination and configuration
• Building words
Instructional Implications (cont.)
• Word sorts
• Cross-checking and self-monitoring
• Context clues
• Cloze Activities
• Word Wall Activities
• Structural Analysis
• Phonetic cue strategies
Ways to Classify and Sort Words
There are many ways to sort and classify words on a
word wall, in a literacy center, or in a whole or small
group lesson:
Words that start the same (beginning blend,
consonant cluster or onset)
Words that end the same (rime)
Words that rhyme
Words that contain the same number of syllables
Ways to Classify and Sort Words (cont.)
• Long words, short words
• Words I know, words I think I know and words I
don't know at all
Words with long or short vowels
Words with schwa sound
Synonyms, antonyms
Compound words
Word Walls
• Using word walls is an effective classroom strategy
for learning and practicing HFW/sight words
• As new words are learned they are added to the
wall in ABC order
• HFW words walls are added to and utilized all year
• If it is on the wall, they are responsible for knowing
how to read and spell it correctly!
Activities for Word Wall Practice
• Speed reading all words under one letter
• Read using different voices/expressions
• Guess my word
• Rhyming words
• Read the entire wall forwards or backwards
• Preposition/pronoun/noun/verb etc. hunt
Whole Class HFW Practice
Word wall games
I have_____, who has____?
Word wall cards in ABC order
Pass the cards
Slap that Word Associate and reinforce written and spoken words
that have been introduced during your lessons. need Materials:
fly swatter, word wall (words written on a chalkboard or white
board). The goal of the activity is that given a spoken word, the
student will quickly be able to recognize the word's written form.
Aim: Building fluency and recognition skills
Activity: Slap words located on a 'word wall'
Have your students gather near the word wall.
Use the following introduction: We are going to attempt to locate
words on the word wall quickly. When you hear the word, look for
the word on the wall and then swat it as fast as you can with this
fly swatter.
Call out a word from the word wall and ask the first student whose
turn it is to locate the word and swat it with the fly swatter.
Lead the class in a cheer when the correct word is slapped. Aid
students who are having trouble. When the first student's turn is
over, repeat the process for the next student.
Small Group HFW Practice
ABC order
Pass the card
Guess my word(s)
Individual Student Support
Word cards on rings
Word lists on desk
New words added to individual spelling
Word hunts while reading
Practice, practice, practice!
Practice at Home
Make sure you have directions to hand out to parents on Open School Night
Flash cards
Word hunts for focus words
Make words with magnetic letters on fridge
Words posted around the house
Read, read, read!
Beyond the Word Bank
Match cards whose word begins with the
same letter or syllable.
Match cards whose word ends with the same
letter or syllable.
Match cards whose word is the same.
Match cards whose words rhyme.
Arrange cards according to alphabetical
Beyond the Word Bank (cont.)
Arrange cards according to the number of syllables
in each word.
Make up sentences using the words on the cards.
Make up a story using all the words on the cards.
Find synonyms, antonyms or homonyms.
Find cards whose words have the same root or
base word.
Beyond the Word Bank (cont.)
• Find cards whose words have prefixes or suffixes.
• Find cards with compound or derived words.
• Arrange cards by the stress on the words.
• Make up a story or poem using all or most of the
words on the cards.
Designing Word Recognition Instruction
Identify word recognition error types.
Provide systematic word recognition instruction on
specific skills.
Pre-teach word types in the text prior to reading.
Structure time for student to practice the text with
a peer, adult, or tape.
• High frequency/site words: is, be, to, us, am, in
• High frequency phrases:
by the dog
for the day
on the bed
over the top
Source: Building Fluency: Do It Well and Do It Right! Molly McCabe
Vocabulary Development
• Part of the semantic cueing system
(word meaning).
• Cannot be taken for granted that
students understand all the words they
• Oral vocabulary supports the
understanding of reading vocabulary.
• Reading vocabulary involves more than
understanding individual words. It also
depends on the sentence a word is in
(its spelling, content, and pragmatics).
Vocabulary Development:
Instructional Strategies
• Read to students.
• Use material above students’ reading level.
• Elaborate on new vocabulary to create a deeper
understanding of words.
• Create scenarios/simulations that allow students to
practice using new vocabulary.
The goal of reading is to comprehend.
Proficient readers:
• use a variety of strategies,
• use strategies before, during and after
• use different strategies for different texts
at different places along the reading
development continuum,
• interact with the text in order to construct
How Comprehension Relates to Reading
• Relate the content of the text to personal
experience and activate prior knowledge:
develop questions before & during reading,
monitor understanding,
connect ideas to construct meaning,
An Example of a Reading Comprehension
Preview the reading
Read key paragraphs
Express ideas in writing
Prepare study cards
Hock, Deshler, & Schumaker (2000)
Fluency: Instructional Strategies
• Review high frequency words.
• Repeated Readings:
Have students reread passages that are at an
independent reading level.
Reread passage until predetermined
is achieved.
Record reading time and number of
correct words.