Reading Instruction in the Elementary School. Danna Bergantine. Contents. Introduction Philosophies, theorists, and approaches to reading instruction My philosophy of reading instruction The NCLB five main components and accompanying strategies Reading in the classroom: Text talk model
The goal of this PowerPoint slideshow is to demonstrate my knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of reading instruction at the elementary school level (K-6.)
I will address the philosophies, approaches, and major components of reading instruction, different types of reading that happen in the classroom, and accompanying teaching methods in reading instruction.
Top down vs. bottom up
One of the major debates in reading education is
whether instruction should top down (building
meaning first) or bottom up (phonics and phonemic
Advocates of top down instruction stress beginning
instruction with whole words, sentences, and stories.
The meaning of sentences is emphasized.
Advocates of bottom up instruction stress building knowledge
of phonemes and letter-sound relationships before anything
else. Sounds are blended into words, sets of words becomes
sentences, and so on.
Advocates for Natural Language Learning. Children learn language naturally when these conditions are present and they should be present in the classroom.
Transactional theory: What the reader brings to the text is just as important as what the author brings.
The “Literacy Club”: Literacy is
presented as meaningful, authentic,
M. A. K. Halliday
Children learn language, learn about language, and learn through language.
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The Phonics approach strives to teach children decoding skills and strategies so that they can decipher words. Phonological awareness and the alphabet are key components. Instruction can be synthetic (teaching sounds then words) or analytic (teaching words than sounds.)
The Sight Based approach is a top-down approach that teaches children vocabulary so that they will be able to recognize a large numbers of words by sight. It is used by educators who believe there is too much inconsistency in sound-symbol relationships in English to rely on decoding.
The Integrated Anthology
approach uses a carefully
crafted set of texts from
various genres and very
specific teacher directions
on how to present lessons
on the texts. Workbooks
with related exercises
usually accompany an
In the Language Experience
approach, children create
narratives that are real and
meaningful to them to learn
about language. The teacher’s job
is to record and preserve the
child’s language expression.
Connection between reading and
writing, as well as between life
experiences are made.
The Literature Based approach emphasizes using genuine
literature to introduce children to the world of reading.
It assumes that children will be most interested in and
learn best from authentic experiences with literature.
The Caldecott Medal
The Newbery Medal
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The Balanced approach rejects
the idea that one form of
reading instruction fits all. It
calls on the teacher to choose
which methods are most
appropriate for his or her class
at the present time. This
approach also emphasizes
read alouds, shared reading, guided
reading and independent reading.
Please click on the icon to hear both an explanation of my philosophy of reading instruction and the approach to reading instruction that I favor most:
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As highlighted by the No Child Left Behind legislation,
the five major components of reading instruction are:
Phonics teaches students how to decode and
decipher words. The students recognize patterns
and shapes across words and sentences. They
learn about spelling rules and letter-sound
The goal of phonemic awareness is for children to
gain auditory discrimination of letter sounds, or
phonemes. Other areas of emphasis include
syllabification, initial and final sounds, vowels,
consonants, and rhyming.
Phonemic Awareness strategies.doc
Vocabulary knowledge is one of the major factors
that increases successful comprehension. The less
time students have to spend figuring out new
words, the more fluently the can read, and read
about more complex and rich topics.
Text comprehension is often seen as the ultimate
goal of reading. We read either to gain knowledge
or to have fun, but in both cases the goal is to
have a meaningful experience. As students
become better readers they will comprehend more
and can increasingly build skills and knowledge,
read more, and learn more.
Text Comprehension strategies.doc
In the area of fluency, the goal is to read quickly
and efficiently. Reading one word at a time is not
considered fluent reading, even if each individual
word is correctly spoken, because unless the words
are strung into a meaningful idea, they are
nothing more than random words.
Text talk model
Content area literacy
This method encourages teachers to take an
alternative approach to presenting books in the
classroom. According to this model, teachers
should chose literature with challenging content,
delay picture walks, choose two to four key
vocabulary words, and use open ended questions
and uptake to direct grand conversations about
Content area literacy refers to learning content, or
subject matter through language. Especially as
students move on through the higher grades, they
learn more and more content by reading about
relevant subjects. It is critical that students are
good enough readers to be able to truly learn
from content presented in text form.
Expository, or non-fiction,
text is one of the primary
ways that students learn
content area literacy.
Expository text can be
about any number of
topics and usually falls
under one of the
Cause and Effect
Compare and Contrast
Problem / solution
Graphic organizers are a means for students to
represent ideas they gain or form during literacy
activities. They help children to put their
thoughts into purposeful designs and allow them
to focus on making meaning from text. Certain
types of graphic organizers are particularly useful
of reading different types of expository text, but
they can just as easily be used for fictional texts.
Some examples of graphic organizers include:
(used for Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast,
or other categorization)
(used for Cause and Effect, or Description)
(used for Compare and Contrast)
Time Order chart
(used for Enumeration)
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a
demonstrates lower to
higher order thinking.
Ideally, a teacher finds
a way to engage his or
her students at all levels
of the model when
considering a text.
There are several ways to assess student’s progress
in reading. Some of those ways include:
Yetta’s Goodman’s Interview Questions
These interview questions find out what a child knows about
reading and what sort of reading experiences she or he has at
The teacher listens to a child read a text and marks ticks for correct
words and the appropriate miscues when they are made. This
assessment can be done informally and quickly. Student miscues
come from one of three systems: Meaning, Syntax,
or Visual. Used in the lower elementary grades.
Reading Miscue Inventories
The teacher records a student reading and observes the student’s
reading. Later the teacher records and analyzes the miscues made.
Used in the upper elementary grades.
The need will always exist to help striving readers
meet the challenges they face. Reading intervention
programs do just that. Programs such as Response to
Intervention (RTI) call on the teacher to provide high
quality instruction for all students, extra instruction
outside of the normal classroom instruction time in
small groups no large than five for those students
who need it, and a focus on reinforcement of reading
skills instead of drilling, or assigning less or more of
the same homework.
Throughout this presentation I have demonstrated
philosophies and approaches to reading, major
components, applications, assessment methods, and
interventions for reading instruction.
Using this knowledge I feel fully prepared to create a
welcoming and rich reading environment for the
students I will one day have in class. With the
knowledge demonstrated above, I have the tools to
help all students achieve reading success.
class lecture, November, 2009.