A Balanced Framework for Instruction: Concepts of Print, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Writing

A Balanced Framework for Instruction: Concepts of Print, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Writing

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5007-5.ch004
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This chapter begins with the premise that literacy educators must prepare for varying curricula, be aware of quality effectiveness, and base methods on sound research, as well as demonstrate knowledge of instructional techniques. They must seek evidence-based instructional practices to be used with all children, including those who struggle in the area of literacy. Preservice and inservice literacy educators are expected to understand that a balanced framework for literacy instruction is essential for children to experience success as a reader. The foundation for having a balanced framework is rooted in the components needed to be a proficient reader. Several conceptual areas of learning how to read include concepts of print, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This chapter defines each conceptual area, as well as writing, and discusses the role it plays in the reading process and why it is important for the struggling reader to strengthen it.
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Reading is the greatest single effort that the human mind undertakes, and one must do it as a child. (John Steinbeck)


The Focus Of Literacy Educators

Educators must know how to match instructional research-validated literacy interventions to the specific needs of children. These and other literacy topics are grounded in developmentally appropriate practices for the teaching of literacy, as set forth by our governing bodies, most notably, the International Literacy Association and the Department of Education. It is important for educators to understand the relationship between phonemic awareness and phonics: identifying and segmenting important linguistic units, including vowels, consonants, syllables, and onset-rimes. They must demonstrate instructional strategies to enhance comprehension of material, emphasize the role of vocabulary knowledge in reading comprehension, identify ways in which word meanings are learned in oral and written language, generate multiple meanings for words, and understand why instruction in multiple meanings and multiple uses is important. Applying concepts of automaticity within reading fluency demonstrates why fluency is necessary for comprehension. Implementing fluency-based measurement understanding and its importance is significant. Educators must be clear about the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension, and identify the ways in which word meanings are learned in oral and written language.

Educators must be prepared to teach a text by reading it, segmenting it into major sections, summarizing the meanings to be taught, generating questions to ask during reading, and planning specific activities that enhance the text. They must be able to clearly articulate and model the use of explicit and systematic instruction in the teaching of literacy for all children at all levels of reading development. Of utmost importance is creating a literate classroom environment filled with print in many different forms; providing adult models of fluent reading; purposefully developing a sense of story/text structure in the teaching of reading; teaching new vocabulary words every day; reading aloud to children every day; encouraging predictions; building a community of readers; demonstrating an awareness of books; teaching and promoting reading strategies; developing fluency and phrasing; increasing comprehension; encouraging independent reading; encouraging strategic reading; and most importantly, instilling a love of reading so that all children become lifelong learners. Finally, in order to be effective and efficient with any form of intervention, it is essential for educators to know how to identify children who may benefit from literacy intervention.

A balanced framework includes the to-with-by model for reading and writing throughout the school day. Reading TO children through read-alouds; reading WITH children through shared reading, guided reading, mini-lessons, interactive writing, and word study; and reading BY children through independent reading, reading workshops, learning centers, and literature circles. The conceptual areas of learning how to read within an intervention setting will be presented in both the WITH and BY portions of the to-with-by model for reading and writing.

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