The Right Way to Build Effective Reading Skills
Strong reading skills have an enormous impact on academic performance. Reading and literacy skills are the fundamental learning blocks for students. Without them, improving other school subjects can be difficult, and students can experience lifelong difficulties.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning difficulties have increased. Strong reading skills can help bridge learning gaps. But, what happens if your child doesn’t know how to read correctly?
Yes, There Is A Right Way to Learn to Read
The Ontario Human Rights Commission released a report, a culmination of an October 2019 public inquiry called Right to Read, that points to a body of scientific evidence showing the best way to teach young students how to read. However, Ontario classrooms are not using this information.
Currently, schools are using an approach called “cueing.” This method encourages students to guess or predict words using clues from the context of a piece of text or recall from their previous knowledge. [source]. This approach prohibits students, especially those already at risk for reading struggles or students with reading disabilities, from developing critical reading skills early on. Reading should not be a guessing game!
A Science-Based Approach to Reading
According to the report, a re-structure of how to teach reading is crucial. When the proper teaching technique is used, 80 to 90 percent of children do not require additional reading help. For those with reading disabilities such as dyslexia, a proper technique assists with identifying struggles early, and an appropriate learning plan can be made.
The Right to Read report recommends a science-based approach called “structured literacy.” This systematic method teaches language across speech, writing, and sentence structure. Additionally, this method dives deeper into meaningful parts of words, the relationships between the words, and the organization of everything into oral or written formats. This is also known as “phonics” and “decoding” and results in long-term student success.
Decoding: The Foundation For Better Reading
Phonics and decoding are both about breaking down words or pieces of text. Written language is a code—teaching young children to “crack the code” is the most beneficial way to learn and understand words properly.
Phonics helps students understand sounds in spoken words and connect sounds to written letters of the alphabet.
Decoding helps to:
- Develop a large vocabulary of words to use as reference
- Improve the ability to recognize words in their vocabulary at a glance
- Read with complete comprehension and fluency
- Understand grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure
In other words, when students connect print to sound and meaning, they become stronger readers. They become able to recall the correct meanings of the words better and transfer their knowledge to new words.
We Can Help!
Oxford Learning’s Little Readers program helps students build strong learning skills by teaching students the fundamental building blocks of language. Our experts guide them as they develop their confidence and skills to decode language and reading, resulting in better grades and less learning stress!