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Learning To Read
Transcript of Learning To Read
Reading Is Not A Natural Ability
Over time, genetic changes have helped humans to learn to understand and use language, and have even set aside specific parts of the brain for these skills.
Speaking is an innate ability, reading is not. There are no areas of the brain that are specialized for reading.
Compared to speaking, reading is a new phenomenon.
If reading were a natural ability everyone would be able to do it, but nearly 40 million adults in the United States are illiterate.
Early Stages of Reading
Before learning to read, children acquire vocabulary by listening to others and practicing pronunciation and using new words in conversation.
The ability to read is dependent on the words learned during this early period, a child's beginning reading will be more successful if their reading material is made up of words that the child already uses.
Learning to read starts with understanding that speech is made up of individual sounds, or phonemes, and that written words represent these sounds (the alphabetic principle).
This awareness includes alliterations, rhyming, and intonation. In children, phonological awareness usually begins with initial sounds and rhyming.
After this, children learn to segment words into syllables and blend syllables into words.
Phonological Awareness: the recognition that oral language can be divided into smaller components, such as sentences into words, words into syllables, and ultimately into individual phonemes. (p. 33)
Phonemic Awareness: a subdivision of phonological awareness that refers to the understanding that words are made up of individual sounds (phonemes) and that these sounds can be manipulated to make new words. (p. 33)
Phonemic awareness is different from phonics.
A child demonstrates phonemic awareness by knowing all the sounds that make up "cat."
A child demonstrates phonics knowledge by telling the teacher which letter is needed to change "cat" to "can."
Phonemic Awareness And Learning To Read
Letters To Words
By Taylor Holliday
Sounds To Letters
(Phonemes To Graphemes)
Alphabetic Principle: describes the understanding that spoken words are made up of phonemes and that phonemes are represented in written text as letters. (p. 36)
New readers must learn the alphabetic principle and comprehend that words can be broken up into individual phonemes, which can be reordered and blended into words. This enables reader to pair the letter with sounds in order to read and form words.
Research studies over the last twenty years have proven that there is a positive correlation between phonemic awareness and success in early learning. Most children (70-80%) are able to learn the alphabetic principle after a year of instruction.
In order to be able to read, the brain must memorize the alphabet and be able to identify which symbols, or graphemes, correspond to the phonemes that are already known.
Phonological awareness helps beginning readers to decode words, or decipher words by linking them to the spoken words they already know.
Decoding begins with learning the alphabet and the basic sounds they represent. Early decoding probably starts when children match symbols in their environment to concrete objects. Example: children recognize the McDonald's arches and the McDonald's sign as a place they eat, but might not be able to read the word "McDonald's" out of context.
What must a child be able to do in order to read effectively?
What role does working memory play in learning to read?
What happens in the brain when a child goes from a a novice reader to a skilled reader?
Ehri's Four Stages of Word Recognition
1. Pre-alphabetic stage: children remember words by connecting visual cues in the word with the word's meaning and pronunciation.
Example: two ls in bell
2. Partial alphabetic phase: children remember words by connecting one or more printed letters with the corresponding sounds heard during pronunciation.
3. Full alphabetic phase: children remember how to read certain words by making accurate connections between the letters seen in the word and the phonemes that are used in the word's pronunciation.
4. Consolidated alphabetic phase: children notice multi-letter sequences that are common in words stored to memory.
Example: -ake in cake, make, and take
Morphemes: the smallest word elements that can change a word's meaning
There are two types:
Inflectional morphemes: suffixes that provide information such as case (Tommy's dog), number (dog/dogs), and person (she calls).
Derivational morphemes: prefixes and suffixes that create new words by changing the meaning of the root words. Example: un- and re-
Children understand morphemes better than they understand phonology. This means it is easier for them to understand that the -s in dogs represents multiple dogs versus that the -s in yes represents a phoneme.
What does reading comprehension mean? How do you asses the level of reading comprehension in your students?
Comprehension of reading occurs when readers are able to place the meaning of individual words in to the structure and context of the entire sentence.
When children read simple sentences, they understand their meaning through simple associations with words they already know.
As sentences become more complex, syntax plays a larger role in comprehension.
Synactic Sentence Structures:
Simple: The girl kicked the ball.
Compund: The girl kicked the ball while her friend watched.
Complex: The girl who kicked the ball hurt her foot. (p.43)
There are many variations within these structures that can change the meaning of a sentence. This explains why reading comprehension can be difficult for beginning readers.
Morphology is the study of how words are put together from pieces, such as prefixes and suffixes, and how these pieces change words.
The understanding of morphology contributes to comprehension by :
meaning: the reader understands the difference between nouns formed by adding -tion and -ive. Example: operation v. operative.
syntactic properties:the reader understands certain suffixes indicate a part of speech. Example: -y indicates and adjective (noisey) and -ly indicates an adverb (noisily).
phonological properties: the reader understands that certain suffixes change the pronunciation of a word. Example: Adding -ic to hero to make heroic.
relational properties:the reader understands the relationship between words formed by adding different prefixes and suffixes. Example: import and export.
Predictors of Success With Reading Comprehension
What factors predict a reader's success with reading comprehension?
Phonemic awareness (understanding that words are made up of individual sounds)is a stronger predictor than intelligence during the early stages of reading.
As children progress, research shows that decoding speed and intelligence are closely related to reading comprehension.
Immediate memory: is one of the two temporary memories. It is the place where we put information for a short period of time until we decide how to get rid of it. This memory operates consciously and subconsciously and holds information for 30 seconds.
Working memory: the second temporary memory where conscious processing occurs. It is a place of limited capacity where we can build, take apart, or rework ideas for eventual storage somewhere else. Working memory is temporary: 5-10 minutes for preadolescents, 10-20 minutes for adults
Reading Comprehension And Working Memory
Reading is a complicated skill that involves many brain systems.
.When reading a sentence, the visual and memory systems of the brain must decode and remember the words at the beginning of the sentence for a short period of time while the reader's eyes continue on to the end of the sentence. The more complicated the sentence structure, the more memory is used in order to comprehend it.
A child's ability to store words in their working memory depends on their age, experience, and language proficiency.
Working memory helps comprehension by aiding the reader in:
Understanding complex sentence structures. This helps the reader put all the pieces of a sentence together to establish the its meaning.
Preserving the word order. This helps the reader to process the sequence and recognize negations.
Memory And Comprehension: Schema Theory
Schemata (Jean Piaget): mental models used to interpret the world and predict situations occurring in our environment.
Schemata are formed over time and represent frameworks that use general concepts stored in long-term memory to help us make meaning our of situations.
Schemata play an important role in helping readers to comprehend text. Readers use their schemata to understand cause and effect, to compare and contrast, and to make inferences about the author's intentions.
Information that does not fit into a reader's schemata may be difficult to understand. This explains why readers have a hard time understanding text on a subject in which they have no experience, even though they are able to read the text. Example: students who were not brought up in the UNited States may have difficulty reading and answering questions about George Washington.
Using Schema Theory In Teaching And Learning
Schema theory demonstrates the importance of a student's prior knowledge in learning. There are several strategies teachers can use to activate reader's prior knowledge, which will hep them to gain a better understanding of the text. These strategies include:
Reading the heading and title and having students make predictions based on the title and visuals.
Providing content that is based on a theme so that information is easier to understand and connect.
Making comparisons to activate existing schema and to help students make connections to new learning. Example: "How does what we read compare to what you already knew?" (KWL chart)
Being aware of cultural differences that might play a role in how a student is able to understand the text.
What Do Brain Scans Reveal About Reading?
Neuroscientists have used functional imaging scans to discover which parts of the brain are used in reading. These scans show that all readers use the visual processing part of the brain in reading to distinguish one letter from another.
Researchers have have also found that there are three other parts of the brain used in reading, but the area used by each person differs depending on their reading ability.
Novice readers use Broca's Area and the parietal-temporal area of the brain to slowly analyze each word.
Skilled readers use mainly the occipito-temporal area of the brain to quickly produce meaning from words.
Practice Makes Perfect
Experience in reading improves several parts of the decoding and comprehension process. Practice:
allows the word form areas of the brain to gain more accurate representations of a word's spelling, which helps to strengthen the the link between how a word sounds and how it is spelled.
turns low-frequency words into high-frequency words, improving the fluency of reading.
improves comprehension by exposing the reader to familiar and new words in different contexts. This helps the reader to understand that two words can have the same spelling but different meanings and pronunciation.
Readers who have difficulty tend to get less practice than more skilled readers, making the gap between better readers and struggling readers wider over time. This was reinforced by the finding that reading ability at first grade was a strong predictor of reading ability in eleventh grade.
Phonemic Chart at http://cambridgeenglishonline.com/Phonetics_Focus/