Red Apple Reading Magazine August-September 2016 - Page 8

W W W. R E D A P P L E R E A D I N G . C O M READING SPECIFICS A BALANCED APPROACH TO TEACHING READING With a strong foundation in reading, children are more likely to be successful in school. How do parents know that their children are receiving the best possible reading education? Research has shown that children learn best from a combination of research-based strategies. Most educators today follow a balanced approach to reading, not only between phonics and whole language practices, but also with teacher-centered instruction, guided or shared reading, and independent work. Let’s take a peek at five general 1) PHONEMIC AWARENESS AND PHONICS This is perhaps the most critical area to work on before a child begins school. This area includes learning the sounds of letters and language, rhyming, recognizing syllables, and learning to both blend and segment sounds in words. Through word study children learn phonics skills, moving from letters to blends, digraphs, complex vowel sounds, prefixes and suffixes, and other advanced phonics concepts (e.g. diphthongs and silent letters). At home parents can help by providing a print-rich environment, reading or reciting nursery rhymes, playing rhyming games, teaching letter sounds, clapping syllables in words, substituting beginning and ending sounds to make different words, and of course reading out loud regularly. In Red Apple Reading over half of the content in Level A promotes phonemic awareness and learning letter sounds, and about half of Levels B and C focus on simple to advanced phonics skills. components of a balanced reading program, what you can do at home to nurture each of these areas, and how Red Apple Reading can help. 2) HIGH-FREQUENCY WORDS AND VOCABULARY Children need to understand the meaning of words in order to communicate effectively. An average 6-year-old understands over 10,000 words (receptive vocabulary), and while parents don’t often think about its importance, the effects on a child when vocabulary is lacking are quite noticeable. A fun fact: only about one hundred highfrequency words (aka sight words) make up half of all the words found in day-to-day reading. This is why it is so important to teach these words to children for mastery. The single largest impact on a child’s vocabulary is the amount of reading he or she does, so the best thing parents can do is to read a lot of different material beginning at a very young age. Also important is conversation, since children pick up a lot of new words and their meanings through 8