Phonics books were the guiding force in my instruction when I began to teach reading.
I copied off the pages for my students at my school and the students I tutored in their homes. I taught the rules. I showed students how to sound out words. I gave kids the tools for spelling.
Then I realized I needed to teach literacy, thanks to the all encompassing teachings and year long training in Reading Recovery. Marie M. Clay. researched, implemented, and finally created Reading Recovery, all the while continuing her research of how children learn to read and write. My engagement with Reading Recovery was far more impactful and guiding as a Reading Specialist and Educator than the two degrees I hold in the field of education.
Through my year long training it became apparent that there are three components that all good readers exercise regularly from the early reader to the master reader. The three components include using visual information, structural information, and meaningful information.
All three work together like musical notes for a composition. Each has its part and relies on the other.
It all begins the moment a child is born with conversations and communication. Your baby begins learning about meaning what makes sense through conversation. Structural information teaches how words work together grammatically, how words come together in a sentence to sound right. Visual information on car rides and while shopping, noticing signs and symbols with letters that make up the words that show up in books as well.
When you lay down next to your child and read to him, your child is listening to the meaning of the story, gaining knowledge of how words fit together to sound right for the structure, and the words he sees strung together on the pages, which represents how letters work together to make the words, that make sense to him, and sound right to him.
When you read to your child you may stop to fix something because you’ve made a mistake while reading, something didn’t sound right, or make sense, or the letters got jumbled for a moment in your mind, so you go back and fix it up.
When a child goes off to school or begins homeschooling, there is the initial focus on knowing letters, words, and pictures that go with letters or words. There is the begin of writing, their name, writing mom, dad, love, or I lk (like) pza (pizza). He will soon learn all the letters needed to make that sentence look right, but he already is learning that makes sense and it sounds right – he didn’t right “I lik-ed pizza,” because he knows it sounds right to say, “I like pizza.”
The books are being read by teachers, mom, dad, grandparents, aunties, and uncles, older siblings. There is the call to action, “Read this part with me while I point,” the child reads, “Brown bear, brown bear what do you see…” He is learning to track the words one at a time, he begins to know some words right away and know some words because the story is meaningful to him, the one about the brown bear.
Soon, he begins reading on his own, writing more on his own. And, with a great wish, begins to love reading and writing on his own.
Want to learn about the importance of using these 3 powerful components to teach reading at home or in your classroom?
Join me here: Reaching Readers.