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5 Secrets of Successful Reading Teachers

Learning how to write and read is not only a great achievement in a child’s life but also an important first step towards becoming an independent criticalthinker. But, since children learn at different paces, it is challenging for classroom teachers to understand and provide the appropriate and individualized support that students need. To become an effective reading teacher, you must have an advanced level of knowledge, understanding and sensitivity.

Scientific research in reading and writing education has proven that some methods are more efficient than others on instructing young readers. Peg Tyre from Great writes: “No area of education has been as thoroughly studied, dissected, and discussed as the best way to teach students to read. Seminal research and longitudinal studies […] provide a clear prescription for effective reading instruction. And yet that information is virtually unknown among teachers, parents, and those who serve on school boards.”

Here are some the secret tips that successful educators use in order to improve their students’ process of learning how to read:

  1. Practice Phonemic Awareness

Scientists and scholars agree that a critical component of reading is phonemic awareness — the ability to recognize the individual sounds that make up a word and join them to create new words. Tyre explains: “In practical terms it works like this: a child destined to become a poor reader and a child destined to become a good reader can both understand the word ‘bag,’ but the poor reader may not be able to clap for each of the three sounds in the word or to know that the last sound is what distinguishes ‘bag’ from ‘bad.’ If a child struggles to hear individual sounds that make up words, that child is likely to stumble when you try to teach her, for example, that the letter t makes the ‘tuh’ sound.”

Studies have shown, however, that phonological awareness — the ability to recognize sounds, syllables and rimes — is a trainable and exercisable skill and should not be used to define a child’s intelligence level. The Reading Eggs blog suggests using children’s songs and nursery rhymes to build up that awareness and encourages parents to do it at home as well.

  1. Tap into the Visuals

There is a reason why children’s books filled with colorful illustrations are so popular. The pictures provide visual cues about the story, helping students make a connection between written words and meaning. Reading comprehension is of utmost importance in the process, and making it fun and imaginative can spark a love for reading.

  1. Practice Fluency

Daunting even to many adults, reading aloud is a significant component of reading education. To make this task less scary, effective reading teachers use dynamic classroom games and let students predict the ends of sentences and phrases. In addition, regular sessions of out-loud reading with engaging stories provides opportunities for teachers to model fluency and inflection.

  1. Expand the Vocabulary

Children are naturally curious about the world, and the more they read about it, the more significant the need for a wider vocabulary. Word games and vocabulary cards can be very useful in this department. Educators can gradually but continually increase the difficulty of the reading material by introducing new, more complex words.

  1. Act Early

The way a child is taught and treated when facing difficulties may have consequences for the rest of their lives. Identifying potential problems, and addressing them early on, is key. In fact, with the exception of students with disabilities, the root cause of underdeveloped reading skills can often be traced to those critical years in primary education.

Teaching reading is no easy feat: educators must understand the different phases of oral, auditory and visual comprehension; internalization of sounds, words and ideas; and the analysis of what was read. Aspiring teachers should become familiar with the newest methods of academic knowledge-sharing. They should also have an aptitude for creativity and adapting on the spot.

Every student body diversifies with each passing school year, as does the need to better accommodate a growing number of neurodiverse students. Therefore, as the world becomes more complex and challenging, teaching every student to read comprehensively and fluently becomes even more crucial. An advanced education degree in reading can open many doors for instructors interested in diving deeper into this area.

Learn more about the University of Louisiana Monroe’s Master of Education, Curriculum & Instruction – Concentration in Reading Online program.


Great Yes, There’s a Right Way to Teach Reading

Reading Eggs: How to Teach Kids to Read: 10 Simple Steps to Try at Home

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