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.) - 

Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles (ASRP) 

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. Comprehensionis 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.



Optional readings: 






Please leave a comment

63 comments:

Queen Of My Castle said...

That was a wonderful post to link to. Being new to this field, I was so impressed with the descriptions.

Alicia

Biltz said...

Comprehension strategies gave me a lot to think about. I see analogies with "active listening" strategies I have been introduced to. This is really good material, I am hopeful I can use this appropriately.

lillian said...

I am sure this is a good resource to refer to later.

Pat said...

good resource

Ms. Ovette said...

I've met people who have difficulty deciphering written words, but who have fabulous vocabularies and speak eloquently and persuasively.

JWKing said...

I have taught adults and I have taught adults who could not read well...but I have not taught adults to read. That is key. Some would say I could not have taught them typing or information processing if I was not also teaching them to read. There is a fine line there which I see now. I was working with reading problems and giving clues to do my assigned work but this was not the teaching of reading. I did not have the time, location, or one-on-one opportunity to teach the underlying problem--not knowing how to read. I was putting on bandaids each day but never really curing the problem.

Lia Keston said...

It frankly didn't occur to me there was so much involved in reading well. This was a very helpful primer.

bshibaby said...

the process of comprehension is something i want to know more about. I know that when i tutored children, there was a stage in which they could sound out all the words of the page, but then look up and not know any of what they read.

bshibaby said...

the process of comprehension is something i want to know more about. I know that when i tutored children, there was a stage in which they could sound out all the words of the page, but then look up and not know any of what they read.

Anne said...

This part was very interesting. I've taken Arabic, French, and Spanish and I feel like I learned a lot about the way I read foreign languages-- lots of decoding and using phonemic awareness to sound out words.

Marian said...

This section had a tremendous amount of information to absorb. I will be referring back to it. I will be summarizing the components of reading for myself, using several of the comprehension tools.

IJM said...

This was a great resource. I'm sure I'll refer to it often, in ascertaining the learner's strengths and goals in literacy. I look forward to learning different ways of accommodating each print and meaning category!

Kareemah said...

This is a very helpful analytical breakdown of reading. I learned reading easily as a child, but have never read extensively because of certain comprehension challenges. Having developed my own ways to improve my skills as an older adult, it is now very wonderful to have this resource and to know about 'comprehension strategies.' It will helpful in tutoring others.

Ms. Educator said...

This section offers great information for beginners of adult tutoring and for seasoned individuals as well. I've learned a lot that I will apply in assisting my learner with reading comprehension.

Shirley said...

Great resource for information. I'd like to read more about reading and comprehension. I made a copy for later reference.

Shirley

Merrybird said...

If comprehension depends onb fluency in decoding words or recognizing them on sight, it would seem unusual to begin with comprehension except for assessment of the adult learmer.

karenzpt said...

Great material explaining the key aspects of teaching reading. I hope I can put all of this together to really help somebody learn to read better.

JeremyK said...

I guess I never realized the intricacies involved with reading even the simplest passage. What's truly amazing is that, as experienced readers, we do almost all of this unconsciously! Let me just say, I have printed out "Components of Reading in Comprehension Strategy Instruction," and will be carrying it with me in my tutoring notebook for reference.

rsvmi52 said...

I had never heard of phonemics until this lesson and my daughter has a Master's degree in reading studies.

Lynn said...

Note to self: "One lesson to be taken from these patterns is that you need to be able to assess adult learners' abilities in the component skills."

Dee Ann Evans said...

Comprehension strategies showing similar score for non-English speaking learners and Adult Literacy learners strikes me as new information. I really never thought about it that way.

neg said...

Definitely material to return to.

Danielle said...

This is a great resource and helpful to know all the components in learning how to read and how they occur simultaneously verses chronologically. Also, how learning to read involves reading many different types of texts is useful to know when tutoring.

SNelson said...

I have a granddaughter who struggles with reading and this proves to be very useful.

RR said...

I never realized how complex learning can be. So much goes on behind the scenes that I was not aware of. Just knowing this now can provide me with better understanding in how I approach my learner.

Carissa Priebe said...

Comprehension is something everyone needs to constantly be working on, and I know it can be tiring sometimes. It is so great to have some much information on it so that I really understand that that is the priority for many students, and tell them to not give up because it will come easier with time and practice!

Lynne B said...

I now see the importance of evaluating the reading needs of my student and how this will help me develop a strategy specifically tailored to his needs.

Megan N said...

We have a new opportunity to help people with their struggles, silent tests cannot do that! So true!

Kenneth Zen Bodhi said...

Great resource and one that I will comeback too.

mary Garlock said...

The more I learn, the more nervous I become about becoming a tutor.

lizbeth rakaczky said...

I can see that teaching an adult to read will not be like teaching my young children.

LG said...

I like this framework. It may encourage me to stress the component parts more instead of just looking at comprehension

Teiji Epling said...

Interesting article, I can definitely see how the ability to read is rather hollow without the comprehension aspect.

Megan said...

As I read these articles, I am trying to relate it to my own experiences learning to read another language. Keeping that in mind is tremendously helpful for me and helps these strategies make sense and have a parallel in my own life.

Mindy Mauldin said...

It seems that creative and extensive planning should go into testing and addressing the five components of reading. Different people come with different levels of skills in each of the five components, so there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching the adult learner these components. Unless the adult learner is tested in the five components, their weaknesses in the individual components cannot be detected; if they can't be detected, they can't be addressed; making progress in them unneccessarily difficult.

lynette ohalleron said...

This information was very helpful in breaking down the way people read and comprehend.It really confirms my belief that teaching phonics is the foundation for basic and advanced reading skills.

North Hills Member said...

I am thinking a lot about how I will ask (not require) GED math students to read aloud to the group. I already frequently ask students to break down the meaning of words. This unit is reminding me that many have reading difficulties and that I should watch for this and seek engagement using tools offered here. If lack of reading abilit is impeding their math skills, then the very common word problems (on the GED and in life) will be even more difficult to solve.

North Hills Member said...

I am thinking a lot about how I will ask (not require) GED math students to read aloud to the group. I already frequently ask students to break down the meaning of words. This unit is reminding me that many have reading difficulties and that I should watch for this and seek engagement using tools offered here. If lack of reading abilit is impeding their math skills, then the very common word problems (on the GED and in life) will be even more difficult to solve.

Genevieve McCall said...

After reading this section, I'm eager to learn some of the methods for teaching each type of skill. Once I discover what areas can use more polishing it will be great to have exercises that target that particular skill.

Kathleen Hoffman said...

I find it discouraging to use the optional materials because of difficulty in getting back to the same place in the chapter text.

lisakay said...

Breaking down the components of reading skills helps me to understand how I can better "diagnose" the difficulties of an adult learner.

Michelle Walker said...

Great information on breaking down the components of reading. Gave insight and clarity in order to better communicate and instruct the adult learner.

Jennifer Smith said...

Reading has always been easy for me. Therefore, the information in this section definitely makes me look at reading differently. I can see how understanding the science of reading can help with teaching someone to read.

Allison Smith said...

This is a great resource. I will save this to refer to later!

Roger Innes said...

Yes complicated process. When you are young, this all comes easier to most and we have no idea how complicated it all is. We are a sponge anxious to learn and absorb. An adult may have more difficulty in doing this for a number of reasons

Stefanie Craig said...

I thought this section gave an excellent breakdown of the components of reading instruction and how to address specific problems learners may have.

Katie Redmiles said...

The breakdown of the components was really helpful in understanding what I need to do for my students.

Michael O said...

I was unaware of how many different components there are in overall reading comprehension. By breaking reading comprehension down into smaller pieces, it seems easier to address, and teach.

Robert D said...

Wow! This really makes it simple. It was very helpful.

Robert D said...

I really had no clue about adults with very little or no Phonemic Awareness.

Wallace West said...

The English languages sounds so clear and easy to most of us but I've always liked math most because English can be so complicated some words have same spelling and sounds but different meanings. Many of my foreign friends speak multiple languages (7+) and have told English is the hardest. I tell them all the time I only speak one since birth and I have a hard time with it at times. Context of the sentence always helps.

CLC Program Manager said...

Reading and writing are inherent strengths for me. It is astonishing to reflect back to the development of my personal reading abilities while applying the perspectives of phonemes, decoding, fluency, vocab, and comprehension to realize how seamless it was for me. I appreciate how I've taken reading/writing for granted versus what others need to do when starting with the alphabet and phonemes...

Delores Kimbrough said...

I was unaware of the components and I have a lot to learn!

Regina Cook said...

McShane's "Components of Reading in Comprehension Strategy Instruction" greatly illuminates why learning to read is so difficult - it's a mash up of components!

Pamela Lee said...

To assist with comprehension in the aspect of knowing the meanings of words, I would suggest making certain the student knows the meaning of any words they are able to read. As new words are added to their reading, and they learn to pronounce those, to make sure they understand the meanings of those.

It all goes together at some point.

MSTATEN said...

The breakdown of skills is great information. I think it will help when figuring out what students need to know

Mme Brown said...

Important sources.

Joe said...

Good breakdown of the PROCESS of Reading.

Penny Speidel said...

This is a helpful unit that shows the importance of both word study and comprehension activities.

rroseman said...

Reading requires that one masters many skills simultaneously.

Jennifer Grogan said...

I thought it was useful how one of the authors broke the five components into two groups: the first focusing on being able to identify a word, and the second focused on understanding the meaning of the word.

Sherry Unruh said...

This information is going to be very helpful when working with adult learners. To be able to show the importance between knowing the words and comprehending their meaning.

kim said...

This information is an eye opener for me. I don't even think about the many components to reading. I just read.