Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reaching ALL Readers (Sight, Phonics and other Approaches)

I've spent a good deal of my adult life guiding, supporting and helping others find the joy and wonder in the printed word.  Sometimes, learning to read appears to happen like magic; however, there were years of experiences that serve as a foundation to the miracle of reading! 

Sometimes, learning to read is hard; however, if parents and teachers carefully analyze a student's relative strengths and needs, all students can learn to read.    

For many students, the "need" is opportunities to learn the phonetic code.  Programs like Fundations have made their fortune out of teaching the code.  Learning the complex ways that sounds can work in English offers all of us the means to read words and ideas we do not yet know.  While that may not seem like something we need, it does allow us to read scientific terms as well as names and the ideas of others outside of our experiences.  Some findings suggest students with language, speech and articulation difficulties, including apraxia of speech, may benefit from this type of approach.

Yet for other students, the need is opportunities to learn a fund of sight words.  There is some research that suggests diverse students benefit from structured sight based approaches. Students with Downs Syndrome as well as students with significant hearing/speech/articulation difficulties may benefit from a fund of sight words that can serve as a base for their own understanding of the code. I wrote about some of that research in this article
Other students just find comfort in the predictable and repeated words that are found in sight word based programs such as these.
Some readers benefit from Language Experience approaches too!
Someresources to think about as we all prepare to return to school and face the need to teach ALL children to be readers!

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