According to the National Children’s Literacy Organization, research shows that there are five essential skills that children must be taught in order to learn how to read. Furthermore, adults can help children to be good readers by practicing these five components:
1) Recognizing and using individual sounds to create words, or phonemic awareness. Children need to be taught to hear sounds in words and that words are made up of smallest parts of sound, or phonemes.
2) Understanding the relationships between written letters and spoken sounds, or phonics. Children need to be taught the sounds of individual printed letters and groups of letters make. Knowing the relationships between the letters and sounds helps children recognize familiar words accurately and automatically, and decode new words.
3) Developing the ability to read text accurately and quickly, or reading fluency. Children must learn to read words from left to right rapidly and accurately in order to understand what is written. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. When fluent readers read aloud, they read effortlessly and with expression. Readers who are weak in fluency read slowly, word by word, focussing on decoding words instead of comprehending meaning.
4) Learing the meaning and correct pronunciation of words, or vocabulary development. Children need to actively build and expand their knowledge of written and spoken words, what they mean and how they are used.
5) Acquiring strategies to understand, remember and communicate what is read, or reading comprehension strategies. Children need to be taught comprehension strategies, or the steps good readers use to make sure they understand text. Students who are in control of their own reading comprehension become purposeful, active readers.
Good reading and literacy skills are of paramount importance in today’s technological age.
For more information on the National Organization for Children’s Literacy visit www.child2000.org