Teaching Encoding and Decoding

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Teaching Reading for Encoding and Decoding

  • Phonics instruction was the earliest method for teaching reading.  Children were taught letter names and simple syllables to construct words.  This is an analytical approach where bits of words were used to build syllables, then words, and meaningful phrases. (p. 69).
  • Choral reading is more global and emerged in 20th century (p. 69).
  • The whole word approach put little emphasis on phonics and more emphasis on recognizing entire words with meaningful units of reading (p. 70).
  • Today we used balanced literacy which combines phonics with enriched reading (p. 70).
  • The reason for whole word instruction was the irregularities in the pronunciation of common words ~ pint vs. hint and have vs. gave ~ letter to phoneme correspondences are not reliable, therefore we should memorize whole words, nor parts.  Whole word also promotes comprehension early in reading.  Words have meaning, speech sounds do not (p. 70).
  • Whole language (Smith and Goodman 1971) is a psycholinguistic approach.  Reading is a guessing game in which readers determine meaning through cueing systems in rich literature.  Phonics taught separately is too boring.  Whole language is called the literature based method today (p. 70).
  • Since the Common Core, National Research Council, National Reading Panel ~ reading should be a balanced and comprehensive approach that includes phonics and an enriched text (p. 71).
  • Reading programs need to be based sufficiently on scientific research to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (p. 71).
  • Balanced and Comprehensive Approach is based on:  no one reading program is the best for all, children need to develop phonemic awareness, master the alphabetic principle, phonics should not be taught separately and through drill and rote memorization, phonics should be taught to develop spelling strategies and word analysis skills, read for meaning, enriched literature develops a positive disposition towards reading and develops their mind to think imaginatively and creatively (p. 71).
  • People are concerned about assessments to accompany Common Core (p. 71).
  • Factors affecting a pre-reader's later literacy skills in decoding, comprehension, spelling:  alphabet knowledge (names and sounds), phonological awareness, phonological memory, writing and writing name, rapid naming of objects and colors, rapid naming of letters and digits (p. 72).
  • The predictive power of print knowledge and visual processing is weak (p. 71).
  • Successful instructional strategies include what is outlined in red:  (p. 73)
  • Code-focused interventions:  interventions designed to teach cracking the alphabetic code ~ getting children to detect and manipulate sounds through rhyming.
  • Shared reading:  read books to children and make it very interactive.
  • Parent and home programs:  teach parents instructional techniques to use at home. The biggest impact is on vocabulary development.
  • Preschool/Kindergarten programs
  • Language enhancement interventions:  improving oral language skills, frequency of word use, and improving the average length of their statements.
  • Research shows that SES, age, race, ethnicity is not a factor in filling in the gap (p. 74).
  • Reading is a learned skill.  Programs must reflect what scientists have learned about how we acquire skills (p. 74).
  • Scientific learning elements of any skill includes the following outlined in green (p. 74-75).
  • Motivation/attention:  focus and mental effort to sustain it.  Technology should not be an end unto itself but as a motivational strategy to achieve a goal.
  • Intensity:  intense focus on a new skill allows the brain to build more neural support for that skill in a short period of time (if you plan to run a marathon occasional jogging will not help ~ you need intensity. . . .).
  • Practice:  students must be repeatedly exposed to and process the material being learned.  Practice makes permanent ~ be sure learning being stored is correct. Research shows the more a person reads, the better that person will be at reading at any age and at any level of proficiency. 
  • Cross-training:  learning any skill is easier if it can be supported by other skills the student already knows or is learning.  Unrelated neural networks establishing connections. Accomplished reading requires the reader to be proficient in spoken language fluency and comprehension.
  • Adaptivity:  the teacher needs to assess the student's current skill level and adapt the new instruction accordingly.  If it's too hard the learner is frustrated.  Monitor progress to adapt instructional strategies.
  • Awareness of Skill Level:  success in decoding unfamiliar words empowers them once they know the alphabetic principle.
  • fMRI and other brain scanning technology continues to offer new insights into how the brains of beginning, skilled, and struggling readers differ.  Intensive interventions with struggling readers changed their fMRI images to resemble those of typical readers (p. 76).
  • Writing to Read:  Evidence of How Writing Can Improve Reading (Graham and Hebert, 2010) found that teaching writing strengthens students' reading skills, and increasing writing improves how well students read (p. 76).
  • Reading involves 2 major processes of decoding and comprehension.  Successful decoding entails:  phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency.  Comprehension requires a developed vocabulary, interaction with the text, and a teacher who is trained in comprehension strategies (p. 77).
  • Phonemic awareness and letter knowledge are the 2 best predictors of how well children will learn to read during their first 2 years of instruction.  Even for middle and high school students, phonemic awareness is a good predictor of their ability to read accurately and quickly (p. 78).
  • Phonemic awareness ~ the first step in mastering the alphabetic principle, the ability to map out letters onto the spoken sounds of language.  As children's mapping skills get better, they can read faster and with greater comprehension (p. 78).
  • Phonemic awareness helps children learn to spell (p. 78).
  • Phonemic awareness is most effective when children are taught to manipulate phonemes while handling cut outs of the letters that represent those phonemes (p. 78).
  • Learning how to blend letters with phonemes helps students to READ words, and learning to segment letters with sounds helps students SPELL words (p. 78).
  • Phonemic awareness is most effective when it focuses on only 1 or 2 types of phoneme manipulation, rather than several, so the children can master them (p. 78).
  • Brain imaging studies have shown, with phonemic awareness teaching, that effective practice can build new neural circuits.  After children are introduced to new letter-sound relationships, additional practice is necessary to ensure that the learning is committed to long term memory (p. 78).
  • Brain imaging also found that learning to read depends on mapping the letters and the spellings of words onto the sounds of speech and speech units they represent in order the develop the visual word form area (p. 78).
  • Phonics instruction teaches the relationship between phonemes of spoken language and the graphemes of written language and how to use these relationships to read and write words (p. 79).
  • Please see page 79 in David Sousa's How the Brain Learns to Read for a "How to Teach Phonemic Awareness" chart.
  • Phonics instruction teaches children a system of remembering how to read words (p. 80).
  • Special education and Title One programs benefits the most from phonics based programs (p. 80).
  • An examination of 22 studies showed that phonics instruction resulted in significantly higher achievement for elementary students, especially minority students (p. 80).
  • Systematic and explicit phonics instruction significantly improves kindergarten and grade 1 word recognition and spelling.  The effects of instruction in grade 2 through 6 are limited to improving their oral text and word reading skills .  Beyond grade 6, it is generally not productive for most students (p. 80).
  • Systematic instruction significantly improves reading comprehension based on research (p. 80).
  • Systematic instruction is effective for various economic and social levels (p. 80).
  • Systematic instruction is particularly helpful for those having difficulty learning to read and who are at risk for developing reading problems (p. 80).
  • Systematic instruction is most effective when introduced in kindergarten or grade 1 (p. 80).
  • Please see pages 80-82 in David Sousa's How the Brain Learns to Read for a "How to Teach Phonics" chart.
  • There are some rules of spelling in English, but it takes the brain more areas to remember and encode complex exceptions ~ those whose pronunciations stray from what is expected such as -tion, -ould, -ough (p. 82).
  • Spelling is closely related to reading because it involves breaking apart a spoken word into its sounds and encoding them into letters representing each sound.  While learning to read, children learn how to spell (p. 82).
  • Pronunciation in invented spelling is very close to the intended word.  Invented spelling assists in the development of reading and writing (p. 82).
  • Studies show that invented spelling is a reliable measure of reading achievement. Invented spelling encourages children to use an analytical approach to spelling and facilitates the integration of phonological and orthographic knowledge (p. 82-83).
  • Writing may be easier way to literacy than reading.  Writing is the reverse of reading. Writing may be a simpler task because it involves going from sounds in the child's head, which are already known and automatic, to letters, rather than from unknown letters in reading to what is known (p. 83).
  • With appropriate teacher intervention, invented spellings gradually come closer to conventional forms.  Spelling errors should not be seen as an impediment to writing but as an indication to a child;s thought processes while making sense of letter-sound relationships (p. 83).  
  • Teachers should use strategies that will help children transform invented spelling to conventional spelling so the errors are not stored in long term memory (p. 83).
  • Texting does not lead to poor spelling.  Texting may actually be helpful because the child's brain needs to perform a mental word analysis to decide how best to abbreviate the word.  This act requires neural circuits to remember the word's correct spelling to convert it to textese (p. 83).
  • Children move through 5 stages when developing spelling skills.  Brain networks map sounds to letters and look for patterns to remember which will help with encoding and decoding in the future (p. 84).
  • Stage 1 and 2 deal with sound, stage 3 and 4 deal with patterns, and stage 5 deals with prefixes and suffixes (p. 84).
  • Please see pages 84-86 in David Sousa's How the Brain Learns to Read for a "How to Teach Spelling" chart.
  • Students' reading performance improves significantly when teachers ask students to write about what they read.  It teaches students to be better writers and increases the amount of time students write (p. 87).
  • Summary writing, note-taking, answering questions, and extended response all have a positive impact on reading competence.  Teaching reading and writing together helps students develop more literacy skills and knowledge (p. 87).
  • Fluency:  the ability to read a text with speed, accuracy, and expression.  It helps the reader focus on the content (p. 87).
  • Children without fluency can't recall what they've read due to the limited capacity of working memory.  Practice in reading helps with fluency (p. 87).
  • Fluency bridges the gap between word recognition and comprehension.  With practice, word recognition and comprehension occurs simultaneously (p. 87).
  • The fluency of even skilled readers slows down when encountering unfamiliar vocabulary or topics (p. 88).
  • To read with expression, readers must be able to divide sentences into meaningful chunks that include phrases and clauses (p. 88).
  • Automaticity:  fast and effortless word recognition that comes after a great deal of reading practice.  It does not refer to reading with expression (p. 89).
  • Monitored repeated oral reading improves reading fluency and overall reading achievement (p. 89).
  • Studies have found that students' oral reading fluency in first, second, and third grades is a reliable predictor of how well they score on high-stakes tests of reading comprehension at the end of third grade (p. 89).
  • Fluency is not a direct result of proficiency in word recognition.  Fluency is a separate component developed through instruction (p. 90).
  • Informal reading inventories, running records, and miscue analysis are appropriate measures for finding out students' issues with word recognition, but are not measures of fluency.  Calculating words read correctly per minute are more suitable measures (p. 90).
  • The best readers read the most and the poorest readers read the least, so class time spent on independent silent reading is not a good use of time because of the minimal guidance and feedback (p. 90).
  • Studies have show no correlation between silent reading and improved fluency or improved comprehension (p. 90).
  • Independent reading does build a reader's vocabulary.  Children who read for 10 minutes/day read over 600,000 words each year than children who do not.  20 minutes/day increase the time to over 2 millions words/year (p. 90).
  • Please see pages 90-92 in David Sousa's How the Brain Learns to Read for a "How to Teach Fluency" chart.
  • The alphabetic principle does not come naturally to most children.  Instructional techniques that explicitly teach this principle through phonological awareness are most effective (p. 93).

Check out these links for more information!

Independent Reading in Schools- article http://www.ncte.org/library/nctefiles/resources/journals/la/0913-jan2014/la0913out.pdf

Against Independent reading- http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/why-sustained-silent-reading-ssr-doesn%E2%80%99t-work/

For independent reading- http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr038.shtml

Spelling Instruction a brief history- http://americanreadingforum.org/yearbook/yearbooks/98_yearbook/html/02_schlagal_98.htm

Why teach spelling- http://www.readingrockets.org/sites/default/files/Why%20Teach%20Spelling.pdf

All page numbers above corresponds to:  How The Brain Learns To Read by David Sousa, 2014.

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COPYRIGHT 12/12/2015.  PLEASE CITE AS FOLLOWS:

Araujo, Judith E., M. Ed., CAGS. "Science Behind Teaching Encoding and Decoding." Mrs. Judy Araujo, Reading Specialist. N.p., 12 Dec. 2015. Web. <http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/science-behind-teaching-encoding-and-decoding/>.

Sousa, David A. How the Brain Learns to Read. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, a SAGE, 2014. Print.

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