Understanding the complex process of learning to read (and teaching young readers) requires breakdown into component parts. Traditionally, reading has been sub-divided into 5 areas (phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension). The graphic below suggests a different way to examine areas for instructional focus and assessment. Isolating the “parts” is necessary for reflective, responsive teaching, especially for struggling readers. Knowing the “parts” enables recognition of individual strength areas, and specific areas for improvement. Teaching the “parts” helps readers themselves set goals and reach accomplishments.
Proficient and joyful readers merge these component parts to find meaning and purpose in their reading. In order to understand the individuality of our early readers (interests, strengths, areas of need), along with appropriate instructional next steps, these “parts” help us to understand the complex process of learning to read.
The hexagon graphic was chosen for a reason. Reading effectively is highly inter-connected and dependent on multiple components. Each part can be shifted, ordered, prioritized and/or combined, depending on purpose and areas of focus.
Upcoming posts will examine these component parts to deepen our understanding of early reading success.