Reading Skills Pyramid
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  1. #1
    JohnEdelson's Avatar
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    Default Reading Skills Pyramid

    Learning to read is an exciting time for children and their families. To help parents understand the steps in learning to read, Time4Learning developed the the Reading Skills Pyramid.

    Many parents and teachers have ordered postersof this pyramid and sent in comments on it. I thought I would post the article here and invite readers to comment on the Pyramid publicly.

    The Reading Skills Pyramid illustrates the five key areas in becoming a proficient reader:phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.

    Phonemic Awareness,* is children's awareness that words are made up of sounds that can be assembled in different ways to make different words. Children build this pre-reading skill by practicing nursery rhymes and playing rhyming word games. For good examples of exercises to build this skill, try the sample lessons.

    Phonics, is the understanding of how letters combine to make sounds and words. Learning phonics starts with knowing the alphabet. Children then learn the sound of each letter by associating it with words that start with that sound. Phonics skills grow as students distinguish between vowels and consonants and understand letter combinations.

    Reading Comprehension Skills separate the "passive" unskilled reader from the "active" readers. Skilled readers don't just read, they interact with the text. As skilled readers read, they are able to:
    - Predict what will happen next in a story using clues presented in text
    - Create questions about the main idea, message, or plot of the text
    - Monitor understanding of the sequence, context, or characters
    - Clarify parts of the text which have confused them
    - Connect the events in the text to prior knowledge or experience
    Time4Learning has exercises that help build this self-monitoring habbit. In addition, when parents read aloud to the children, they can help them develop these skills themselves by periodically stopping and asking/discussing questions that illustrate the skills above.

    For instance, if you are reading a confusing passage, stop and say, "I didn't understand that. Did you?" And after listening to their interpretation, say: "Interesting, Let's check and read this part again." Reread the passage and then discuss your new understanding. Comment that even when you read to yourself, you are monitoring your own understanding and rereading when necessary.

    Fluency. is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. Fluency bridges phonics and comprehension. Fluency skills include mastering the 240 dolche words and reading rapidly while maintaining comprehension.

    John Edelson
    It's Time 4 Learning. And Fun.


    *Phonemic and phonological awareness are closely related pre-reading skills. Phonological awareness is a conceptual understanding about words being constructed of sounds, whereas phonemic awareness is the auditory discrimination skill to hear sounds.
    John Edelson, Founder
    It's Time 4 Learning. And Fun!

    Time4Learning: Automated Online PreK-12th Curriculum for Math, Language Arts & More.
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    Time4MathFacts: Automated Game-Based math facts practice, a foundation for future math success.
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    Lisa333 is offline Member Regular
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    This is a clear interesting description of reading skills.

    I had previously been aware of:
    - prereading skills - understanding books and understanding words
    - phonics
    - reading comprehension
    - speed reading skills - what you call fluency

    Also, I knew about the "Reading Wars" where some people felt that phonics was the way to teach: others felt that a "whole word" approach was better.

    Where is the Reading Skills Pyramid on this issue?

  3. #3
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    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
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    I think the "modern" approach is to use both. Children generally begin using phonics, but they also learn sight words through gradual exposure to the exceptions.

    That is how Time4Learning teaches reading. Each lesson provides practice with a phonics concept. Every few lessons introduces one or two sight words, with an enjoyable game to give the student practice with words such as "of", "the", and "was" (which don't follow "phonics rules").

    Mom of six . . . current students and homeschool graduates. Enjoying using Time4Learning since 2006!

  4. #4
    ShayinSC is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    I taught my kids by teaching phonics and word families (at, bat, sat, cat, etc.), so I guess I used both sight words (at, in, etc.) and plain old phonics.

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    Rosita is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Hi, this is a response to the newsletter I recieved regarding this issue, in particular the comment about media in the home:

    "Electronic media in the home can help or hinder vocabulary development. Be selective. Power Rangers episodes with dialogue consisting of "Let's do it" and "Watch out!" will not build vocabulary! Instead, choose films and TV shows with rich dialogue" (quoted from the newsletter)

    Can I recommend that familiies incorporate story tapes/cds instead of relying on visual media alone. I found that my son's reading and vocabulary skills improved dramatically after we got rid of our television and started to listen to 'Adventure's in Odessey', 'Down Gilead's Lane', 'Paws and Tales' and other similar programs. I think it helped that we as a family would talk about the show we'd listed to, sometimes just to rehash the funny moments, other times to chew over the moral of the story. Often, my then 5 year old son would ask about a particular word that was used that he didn't understand. It's developed into a habit now - whenever he reads or sees a word that is unfamiliar to him he automatically enquires about it & I automatically direct him to his dictionary. He's now 11 and his vocabulary and phoenetics are outstanding. Also, whenever we're having a chat and he uses a challenging word, I'll ask him to spell it (he usually uses it in the right context). I also found that this has translated to a love of reading and his appetite for books is voracious, to say the least. And he as a wonderful imagination and is able to verbalise his thoughts and ideas clearly and in an interesting way. I do believe it's because listening to these shows helped him to 'see' the words and they have become a richer experience for him

    Hope this all makes sense and helps.

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    JohnEdelson's Avatar
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    Thanks Rosita. I am a huge believer in "listening to books" while we drive in the car. I've read dozens of books that way. I find that since listening to a book is slower paced than when I read on my own, I absorb the book and think about it in a more profound way.

    With my kids, we've read a lot of literature this way. It creates a special joint family experience to listen to books. I'll often pause it and ask the kids questions about the story or characters or their thoughts on it.

    My daughter will still sometimes gently mock me by putting on the voice of the Father from the Trumpet of The Swan which we listened to five years ago. For those of you who haven't read The Trumpet of the Swan:
    1 - You should. The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White is great.
    2 - The swan father in the book seems to like to talk. He is long winded but good hearted. My daughter feels that I have similiar tendencies.
    John Edelson, Founder
    It's Time 4 Learning. And Fun!

    Time4Learning: Automated Online PreK-12th Curriculum for Math, Language Arts & More.
    Time4Writing provides eight week writing courses for students, 2nd-12th grade. Teachers included!
    Time4MathFacts: Automated Game-Based math facts practice, a foundation for future math success.
    Time4Languages: Ten of Rosetta-Stone's legendary language learning programs provided at reduced costs to T4L members

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