of Effective Reading Instruction
Research in the
fields of education psychology have shown that the following skills
are critical to learning to read proficiently:
Fluent word recognition
For strong reading
fluency, the research supports having a child develop good phonemic
awareness skills first, then addressing the other five reading components.
Students learn to read most proficiently and quickly when all these
skills are taught at the same time rather than sequentially.
to Read to Reading to Learn
The reading skill
level achieved by the end of the third grade must prepare students
for the literacy shift that they will encounter in the 4th
grade. For it is in the 4th grade that students make a
major transition from learning to read to reading to learn. This requires
that students be automatic or fluent readers in order to understand
narrative and expository texts.
Students in 4th
grade are expected to read for the sake and enjoyment of reading as
well as information. Teachers expect students at this grade to show:
of the text
Ability to develop
an interpretation of the text
on the content and response to the content
on the material
In addition, the
words in a 4th grade text are not typically found in everyday
language. Reading assignments become more technical and specific to
the subject that they are studying. If students are not reading proficiently
by the end of the 3rd grade, they will not have the skill
basis for comprehending these more challenging texts. Their academic
performance will suffer along with their reading enjoyment, causing
both frustration for parents and student. Thus it is imperative to
give students the best possible reading foundation as early as possible.
Nanci Ross is
a reading specialist in Salt Lake City, Utah.