Key skills and dependencies
Learning to read is an exciting time for children and their families. While thrilled by their children's emerging literacy skills, many parents are surprised to learn that reading is not automatic and that, regardless of family background, children require support in learning to read. Recent advances in research document some methodologies that work in most cases.
A language-rich environment forms a solid foundation on which skills including decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are based. Mastery of decoding comprises understanding print concepts, phonemic awareness and phonics and is usually attained by the end of second grade. Some skills, such as vocabulary development, will grow as long as children are challenged by involvement in a rich language environment and by tackling increasingly complicated texts.
Research shows that children who develop phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge early on are more likely to be strong, successful readers. Children build these skills by reading aloud, practicing nursery rhymes, and playing letter and word games. Tutoring or structured computer programs can also effectively reinforce these skills.
The Reading Skills Pyramid visually depicts the patterns of concept acquisition that children follow in becoming successful readers up through third grade. We recommend a high level of parent involvement in this process by providing high quality educational materials, establishing a pattern of daily reading, creating a rich language environment, and discussing your child's progress with teachers and following up on their recommendations. While most children follow the same sequence of acquiring literacy skills, they do so at their own pace. All children are different: if you have questions or concerns about your child's progress in reading, contact his or her teacher.
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This Reading Skills Pyramid illustrates the analysis of skills and grade level targets determined by the U.S. Department of Education. Curriculum differs from state to state and many children will develop faster than these targets These norms represent average levels of reading achievement.
Armbruster, B.B, Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2002) A Child Becomes a Reader: Proven Ideas for Parents from Research -- Birth to Preschool & Kindergarten through Grade Three. (2001) Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read Washington , DC : National Institute for Literacy.
Burns, M.S., Griffin , P. & Snow, C. E. (eds.). (1999). Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success . Washington , DC : National Academy Press.
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction. Washington , DC : National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Interesting Links for Reading Skills & Issues
SEDL - Online Library of Cutting Edge Reading Research
Online Reading & Math - http://www.Time4Learning.com - Great for Visual Learners