In 2000, the National Reading Panel, based on a comprehensive review of the relevant literature, issued a report that identified 5 skills that were found to be most critical to reading success. In other words, “what works” in teaching children to read.
These five skills are:
- Phonemic Awareness: the ability to identify and manipulate the SOUNDS in spoken language
- Phonics: The ability to match a sound with a symbol
- Reading Fluency: Reading aloud with appropriate speed, accuracy, and prosody
- Vocabulary: the body of words an individual can identify and use
- Text Comprehension: the ability to understand the material being read
The report emphasizes that none of these components is a complete program in and of itself; in fact, all five components must be mastered for individuals to become good readers. So, when choosing a book or activity to support reading, it is important to identify which of these skills is/are being facilitated.
- Pants on Ants targets phonemic awareness by contrasting words that differ by a single phoneme (e.g., howl/owl).
- Capering Cows includes rich vocabulary (e.g., glamorous/amorous)
- Spotless Spot encourages children to create their own storyline (text comprehension)
- Run, Turkey, Run helps children learn new prepositions (vocabulary)
Supporting literacy in the home and school environments is my passion. But, it is also a lot of fun. If you use the 5 skills to guide your efforts, you will be on your way to Building Better Readers!
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