HegwoodFiveAreas of ReadingHowdo children learn to read? There are many methods to teach a child how to read:through sounding out, repetition, reading to the child, etc. However, regardlessof the method used to teach a child how to read they need to master the fiveessential components or five areas involved in reading: phonemic awareness,phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. These components work as buildingblocks for one another, beginning with phonemic awareness and gradually leadsto the other components from pre-school through the child’s academic career. Phonemic awareness is important because it is thefoundation of teaching a child to read.
Phonemes are the smallest units ofsound in speaking that are associated with each letter. In this area childrenare noticing sound. They are thinking about what part sound plays in theforming of words. The focus of this area is that children understand that wordsare made up of phonemes. If a child is struggling with phonemic awareness theteacher and parents should increase the amount of time they read aloud to thechild. It is a good idea to utilize books that rhyme and repeat the same soundsand bring their attention to those words while reading.
In addition toincreased reading, the teacher and parents can do projects such as rhymingcollages. The key to improving the child’s phonemic awareness is getting themcomfortable and familiar with rhyming sounds so they are able to identify themeasily. After children develop their phonemic awareness they beginphonics instruction. Phonics isa way of teaching reading based on the sounds of letters, groups of letters,and syllables.
Phonics instruction teaches children to use the alphabeticprinciple, the understanding that the relationship between sound, letters andwords is that sound is represented by letters which form words. If a child isstruggling in this area the teacher and parents should encourage the child toread aloud to them and sound out any words that they stumble on. It would alsobe wise to start the child out with short and easy books, then lengthier andmore challenging books. Following phonics instruction, is the fluency area, wherethe goal is to help children develop into fluent readers. A fluent reader readsaloud with appropriate speed and accuracy and silently they have impeccableword recognition. When they read aloud their words come out with expression andsounds as if they are speaking as opposed to reading slowly and choppy-like.
Ifa child is struggling with fluency the teacher and parents should read aloud tomodel proper fluency, have the child listen to an audio book while followingalong, and pairing the student with one of their peers whose fluency is moredeveloped. Once children understand fluency they move on to buildingup their vocabulary. Vocabulary refersthe words that should be known in order to effectively communicate. There aretwo types of vocabulary, oral and reading. Oral vocabulary consists of words usedin speaking or recognized when listening. Reading vocabulary consists of wordswe recognize in print or use in writing.
The goal of this area is to encourage vocabularygrowth so that comprehending a body of writing is easier. If a child isstruggling with building their vocabulary the teacher and parents shouldencourage the child to keep a vocabulary journal, this practice will make thestudent more aware of words and their meanings, as opposed to dismissing them. In addition to the vocabulary journal, theteacher and parents should increase the amount of reading the child does,however the books should be of interest to the child. The child should get intothe habit of carrying a pocket dictionary to practice looking up words in theireveryday life.
Also consider adding incentives for vocabulary growth becausethe child may be struggling with motivation. Once children understand theimportance of vocabulary they are taught comprehension. In this sense,comprehension is understanding the meaning of what is being read.
Comprehensionis the overall purpose of teaching children to read is to prepare them forlearning throughout their academic careers and lives. In this area children learnhow to understand what they have learned to read. They learn to answer the questions: who, what, when, where, and whyabout the plot, characters, and events of the text, create questions andpredictions, and summarize main ideas and key points. If a child isstruggling with comprehension the teacher and parents should sit down with themand evaluate their current method of comprehension. If there are flaws in theirmethod they should guide them through the flaws and advise them how to dobetter.
The teacher and parents should encourage the child to summarize whatthey are reading in sections, as opposed to the entire thing at once. There are five components of readinginvolved when children learn to: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency,vocabulary, and comprehension. The first component, phonemic awareness, acts asthe foundation of reading.
In this area children are noticing sounds and whatpart they play in the formation of words. The next component, phonics, teacheschildren that sound is represented by letters which form words. Then there’sfluency, which teaches children how to read at an appropriate speed,accurately, with proper expression.
Followed by vocabulary, which is the areathat deals with vocabulary growth in an effort to easily understand whatevertext is being read. Lastly, Comprehension, which is the overall purpose ofteaching children to read. If a child reads something that they can’tcomprehend then they aren’t really reading. As a child is learning to read it isimportant to create a strong foundation because if there is a crack in thefoundation their reading development becomes at risk.