"Every child a reader" has been the goal of instruction, education research, for at least three decades. We now know more than ever about how to accomplish this goal.
Six Elements for Every Child
Here are six elements of instruction that every child should experience every day
1. Every child reads something he or she chooses.
The research base on student-selected reading is robust and conclusive: Students read more, understand more, and are more likely to continue reading when they have the opportunity to choose what they read.
The experience of choosing in itself boosts motivation. In addition, offering choice makes it more likely that every reader will be matched to a text that he or she can read well.
2. Every child reads accurately.
Good readers read with accuracy almost all the time. Although the idea that students read better when they read more has been supported by studies for the last 70 years, policies that simply increase the amount of time allocated for students to read often find mixed results (National Reading Panel, 2000). The reason is simple: It's not just the time spent with a book in hand, but rather the intensity and volume of high-success reading, that determines a student's progress in learning to read (Allington, 2009; Kuhn et al., 2006).
3. Every child reads something he or she understands.
Understanding what you've read is the goal of reading. But too often, struggling readers get interventions that focus on basic skills in isolation, rather than on reading connected text for meaning. This common misuse of intervention time often arises from a grave misinterpretation of what we know about reading difficulties.
4. Every child writes about something personally meaningful.
The opportunity to compose continuous text about something meaningful is not just something nice to have when there's free time after a test or at the end of the school year. Writing provides a different modality within which to practice the skills and strategies of reading for an authentic purpose.
When students write about something they care about, they use conventions of spelling and grammar because it matters to them that their ideas are communicated the correct way.
5. Every child talks with peers about reading and writing.
Research has demonstrated that conversation with peers improves comprehension and engagement with texts in a variety of settings (Cazden, 1988). Such literary conversation does not focus on recalling or retelling what students read. Rather, it asks students to analyze, comment, and compare—in short, to think about what they've read.
6. Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud.
Listening to an adult model fluent reading increases students' own fluency and comprehension skills (Trelease, 2001), as well as expanding their vocabulary, background knowledge, sense of story, awareness of genre and text structure, and comprehension of the texts read (Wu & Samuels, 2004).
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Grade 1A Teacher