Learning to Read

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One thing I have reflected on in my teaching career is how to be explicit. We all know the power of systematic and explicit teaching but  what strategies do teachers need to use to teach beginning readers? I use this diagram when I help teachers plan their learning intentions for modelled and guided reading. Readers draw information from three sources: meaning, structure (grammar) and visual information. When we take a running record we are looking for evidence of the use of these three sources of information and these are coded in a running record as M, S and V. Early readers develop strategic behaviours which are the actions they take inside their heads to become effective readers. Monitoring is noticing when something doesn’t seem right. Checking is an early behaviour where a reader checks two sources of information. Searching occurs when the reader uses  all three sources of information to work on an unknown word.  The goal is to teach readers to self correct their errors. Each box on the diagram I share with teachers has some prompts they could use to foster the use of sources of information or strategic behaviours.  The more I reflect on the process of learning to read the more I see the reciprocal nature of reading and writing. What students learn to write impacts on their reading and vice versa. Readers need to remember the key features of a text they read, for example, facts in a non fiction text and characters and order of events in a story. Lastly, reading fluently also impacts on meaning. Fluency is not reading fast! Fluency is making the reading smooth, like talking, using expression and reading the punctuation. If this information sounds useful, download this diagram from our free resources.