7. Using Effective Reading Instruction With Adults
How did you learn to read in school? Using phonics or whole language? Or components of both? Chances are that you love to read and read voraciously, which is why you decided to volunteer to tutor and adult.
Reading has become so automatic for you that you rarely think about the process, but the many adult literacy learners who seek help experience great difficulty with print skills. Their reading vocabulary is not as extensive as ours and they lack the fluency skills we've developed as good readers. Our students read painfully slow and their understanding of the text is often inaccurate. Being non-readers, they do not build up their reading vocabulary or work on their comprehension, and therefore they fall further behind in school and fail to develop a love for reading.
As a tutor you will be helping your students
- set a purpose for reading,
- use their prior knowledge about the subject to help set the stage for reading,
- improve their decoding skills,
- increase their reading vocabulary,
- improve their fluency, and, finally,
- work on their ability to construct meaning from text.
All the things that you do automatically.
Before moving on, we will need to discuss the components of reading and provide a few definitions.
The five components of reading instruction are:
1. Phonemic Awareness:Phonemic Awareness (PA) is the awareness that speech is made up of a sequence of sounds that can be manipulated—changed, added, or subtracted—to form different words: sick, slick, slim, slam. (Phonics, another term for Word Analysis, refers to the knowledge of letter sounds, syllable patterns, and the rules used to decode words.) -
Optional: To further understand the concept, please view the video. While the video is aimed at teaching children, the topic also hold true for adults. Instead of children's materials, tutors should choose adult poems or rhymes to teach these skills.
2. Decoding: the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Understanding these relationships gives [readers] the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven't seen before.- Reading Rockets
3. Fluency: the ability to read a text correctly and quickly. - Reading Rockets
Optional Video on Fluency
4. Vocabulary: the words we must understand to communicate effectively. Educators often consider four types of vocabulary: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Listening vocabulary refers to the words we need to know to understand what we hear. Speaking vocabulary consists of the words we use when we speak. Reading vocabulary refers to the words we need to know to understand what we read. Writing vocabulary consists of the words we use in writing. Vocabulary plays a fundamental role in the reading process, and contributes greatly to a reader's comprehension. A reader cannot understand a text without knowing what most of the words mean. - Reading Rockets
5. Comprehension: is composed of two equally important components. Decoding, or the ability to translate text into speech, is only part of the process of reading comprehension. The other part is language comprehension, or the ability to understand spoken language. All struggling readers have difficulty with either language comprehension or decoding or both.- Reading Resources, SEDL
Each of the first four components plays an important role in facilitating comprehension, which is, of course, what reading is all about. The final component, comprehension, involves thinking about reading and taking meaning from print.
- Research has also demonstrated that phonemic awareness and phonics, while necessary to learn to read, are not sufficient, especially when we think about reading as a way to extract meaning from printed text. Good readers must also be able to apply these skills quickly, understand the words they read, and to relate what they read to their own lives and experiences. - National Center for Learning Disabilities
Print Skills and Meaning Skills = Comprehension
|Image from Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles|
At this point of the workshop, you may be asking yourself: "How can I help my student achieve her literacy goals?"
As we discussed in the previous unit, adults possess uneven reading skills. Some may lack phonetic skills but might have an extensive sight word vocabulary in reading product labels or grocery store items. Others might need to work on fluency or develop comprehension strategies.
Chances are that while you may have helped a child with reading and homework, you have never formally taught an adult before. For this reason, we will start with reading comprehension. After you have examined reading comprehension, we will introduce the other reading components. Then we will show you how you can incorporate all the elements of reading instruction into a lesson tailored to your student's needs.
- Click here to read Susan McShane's: "Components of Reading in Comprehension Strategy Instruction".
- Click here to read a section on Reading Components, Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles (ASRP)Literacy Information and Communication System
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