It is our opinion that this approach to teaching reading & writing is
the major cause of the high levels of illiteracy across the English speaking world.
"Reading is a psycholinguistic guessing game." (Kenneth Goodman)
We do NOT advocate this approach to teaching reading in infant grades. We maintain that infant learners are NOT mini adults and that their cognitive processing is qualitatively different to that of adults; as such their cognitive development must be respected.
From the text below: “The teacher reads to the students and shows how it is done through demonstrating how to use a book and sounding out letters and words (phonological)” Note that this is arbitrary dipping into uncontrolled text. All of the golden rules of teaching are dismissed out of hand. There is no sequence, no structure, no practice and no consolidation. Imagine you are learning a new language, how much would you remember and use of this hit & miss approach let alone impulsive infants?
Chart above is by Brian Cambourne
Cambourne outlined a set of conditions which provide a foundation for learning literacy skills in the classroom. These are designed to simulate the conditions that occurred naturally when children learned to talk.
1. Immersion 2. Demonstration 3. Responsibility. 4. Expectation. 5. Approximation 6. Practice 7. Response. These conditions are the ground work for teachers from which the following reading activities can take place.
Modelled reading is essential to show children how to read. The teacher reads to the students and shows how it is done through demonstrating how to use a book and sounding out letters and words (phonological) , pointing out words, sentences and sentence structure (grammatical) and comparing text with pictures and getting meaning from what is being read (semantic reading). Modelled reading needs to be fun and informative, big books are a good resource for this activity.
Guided reading this is where the teacher, parent or assistant reads with the student in a one to one situation. The student demonstrates their reading abilities through exploration, problem solving, risk taking, self correction and comprehension.The assistant helps through support, guidance and prompting the atmosphere needs to be encouraging and positive.The students phonological, grammatical and semantic abilities can also be assessed in this situation.
Independent reading. The teacher sets up conditions for students to read and explore books on their own or in small groups. The student selects the book, find words and meanings, practices reading and might discuss and record what they have read. (The above methods have been gathered from the lecture notes: Teaching Reading a K-6 Frame work)
“Reading and writing don’t inevitably go together. You can read without learning a thing about writing, grammar, or spelling, although, you certainly can’t learn anything about writing, grammar, or spelling unless you read.”
A link to the web site is given for those wishing more information on this approach.