Early Instructional Methods Make a Difference in Readers

In a 1997 study by Scanlon and Vellutino, it was found that kindergarten students who came to school with little literary background were more successful when they were taught by kindergarten teachers who spent a large amount of instructional time analyzing the structural aspects of the spoken and written word with their students. In an article titled, “30 Years of Research: What we now know about how children learn to read: A synthesis of research on reading,” Grossen says that the following conclusions are apparent:

1) Phonemic awareness should be directly taught at an early age for all young students.

2) Sound-spelling relationships should be explicitly taught to students.

3) High frequency sound-spelling patterns should be regularly and systematically taught to students.

4) Students should be directly taught strategies to sound out words.

5) Teachers should use connected, decodable text to explicitly practice the sounds being taught. Students should use this text to practice sound-symbol relationships. No skills should ever be taught in isolation.

6) Interesting stories that do not use decodable text should also be used with students on a regular basis to develop language, vocabulary and comprehension skills.

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