Schools everywhere prepare students to take their end-of-year tests. As we prepare students in test-taking strategies, let us continue to model and encourage students in comprehension strategies. This is what reading is really all about ~ to understand the words read and the author’s message, and to clarify any confusions. It’s critical to teach students how to synthesize the information because as adults we do this all the time. For students, they practice this by asking themselves: What is this passage or paragraph mostly about or what is the graph or chart telling me?
Greatly strengthening comprehension, is the ability to decode multi-syllable words on-the-run (or while reading). Too many students struggle in this area. Students benefit from direct instruction in vocabulary and especially, syllable types. Both should be part of a strong word study program with multiple and consistent opportunities to practice throughout the day and year. This brings us back to state tests which contain many multi-syllable words. Research repeatedly shows that students’ spelling abilities are lower than their reading abilities. Thus, if word study only contains their spelling abilities, we do a great disservice to students. This is where direct instruction in syllable types comes in. In third grade alone, students would greatly benefit from direct instruction in how to divide multi-syllable words, prefixes, suffixes, soft/hard c, soft/hard g, the
- closed syllables (i.e., mat, substance)
- silent -e syllables (i.e., like, complete)
- open syllables (i.e., i-tem, hu-man, de-scribe, mi-grate)
- r-controlled syllables (i.e., car-pet, in-ter-est-ed)
- consonant -le syllables (i.e., art-i-cle, sprin-kle)
- vowel team syllables (i.e., ex-plain, con-tain-er, bounce, au-tumn)
Schwa sound: na-tion, im-pres-sion
Words that end like: pic-ture, pres-sure, crea-ture.
In sum, reading is a complex process YET we can teach children how to read and how to read well. We need to because reading is for life.