Learning to read is complex. Learning to teach reading is equally complex. To compound this reality, we use multiple literacies alongside reading in today’s connected literacy world. We must also ensure ongoing understanding of our learners with responsive, effective teaching strategies based on purposeful assessments. Teaching children how to read is indeed multi-layered, complex and evolving.
So where do we start? Taking the time to collectively and individually examine “end goals” for our young readers is a critical first step. Focusing on what really matters when learning to read in today’s literacy world requires evolving reflection and refinement. The traditional components of reading (phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension), when effectively taught and learned, generally result in competent reading skill and ability.
Educators today expect more for our young readers and for ourselves as teachers. We want our children to read with competence and with joy and purpose. We want our children to develop independence and self-determination. Readers who want to read, and who can read.
As a literacy support teacher and tutor, focusing on “end goals” with all readers has enabled my teaching to prioritize and “simplify” the complex world of learning to read. The chart below includes seven essential goals for early reading success, which have been refined numerous times and are deeply influenced by many Significant Perspectives. Included are the traditional components of reading (somewhat revised), along with a focus on engagement and ownership. As well, the connection between early reading and writing is included as a transfer goal for early reading success.
The goals listed are not sequential, but occur simultaneously each time effective reading occurs. For the purpose of instructional decision making (planning), purposeful assessment and responsive teaching, the process of learning to read has been broken down into the following seven goals:
Although reading component outcomes appear straight forward, a complex understanding lies beneath each goal statement. Further blogs will explore these areas over time. Our teaching and learning moments are precious, therefore our intentions must be clearly articulated and understood. Transfer goals are a good place to start.
These goals will and should be revised again. Early reading success still matters for our young learners even though reading occurs within a multiple literacy world. Our work as reading teachers will continue to evolve…