Why do so many teachers and tutors claim to use best practices in teaching reading when they neglect the most important methods? The National Reading Panel reviewed decades of research on reading and determined that an early reader needs a solid foundation, a foundation that extends far deeper than phonics. Sound Reading builds this foundation using the most advanced reading software available.
Best teaching practices and reading methods that ensure success for struggling readers include the auditory processes that connect printed words and meaningful spoken words. These include phonemic awareness, the auditory process that allows humans to make sense of speech sounds. Virtually all students who struggle with reading have subtle problems with phonemic awareness.
Many who believe that they are following best practices in reading instruction still neglect phonemic awareness instruction. This is sad, as a few hours working on phonemic awareness is often the fastest route to reading success. Early research showed that phonemic awareness was important for kindergarten and first grade students. Recent research, including the research Sound Reading is based on, shows that it critical for older students. The reason is simple: as words get more complex students require greater phonemic awareness to make sense of them.
Reading instruction methods must reflect that virtually all secondary students have underdeveloped phonemic awareness and an additional auditory issue. There is a reason students struggle with print for years. Phonemic awareness and auditory instruction isn’t just for young students. These issues include auditory discrimination, sequencing, memory and attention issues. The Sound Reading software builds the auditory skills that make learning to read effortless.
Best practices in teaching reading rightfully focus on comprehension. There are many strategies that are useful, but only a few that stick. The first is “Stop and Think.” The teacher places post-its at critical places in a story. When a student comes to a post-it he stops and thinks. Then he employs the second strategy, he “Turns and Talks” to his reading partner and they have a minute talk about the passage. The Sound Reading Small Steps Readers have these strategies built into each Small Steps story.
Another method in reading comprehension growth also uses post-its. This method uses the natural language strategy of “Does it Sound Right?” This is better than asking, “Does it make sense?” Every time a student encounters a word or phrase that causes her to pause she places a small post-it strip on it. When the chapter is completed the student goes back and reads each paragraph that contains a post-it. If the passage now makes sense the post-it is removed. If the student is still confused then the post-it remains until a peer or a teacher helps.
Best practices in reading instruction should always emphasize fluency. One of the most important research findings is that fluency is the key to meaningful reading and motivation. Even slightly labored reading can limit comprehension. Researchers have found that most “lazy” readers actually have reading fluency difficulties. The Sound Reading Small Steps Readers™ develop fluency with simple and complex words, as well as with sentences and stories.
Teachers are about the only group of workers who are expected to come up with their own material and methods. The Sound Reading Games, Readers and Software are designed by teachers to be ready to use with minimal training.
We all want to use best practices in reading instruction to help our students grow. To determine which methods to use think about:
A. How appropriate are the methods for your students?
B. How much time will it take to implement the methods?
C. How will I track student progress?