For years, the field of reading education has been engaged in thinking about best practices. Explicit instruction in vocabulary, rereading and using digital textbooks to motivate children’primary phonics storybooks pdf reading are among some of these updated best practices.
Those in the reading community are urged to consider best practices, and how we may promote their uses, with high fidelity in classroom instruction. In short, these practices have acquired evidence over time that if used with fidelity, children are likely to become proficient in reading. Best practices, as most of us recognize, however, are not necessarily easy to implement in day-to-day instruction. Consider for a moment the best practice of explicit phonics instruction. Effective implementation of this best practice can get complicated pretty quickly on several levels: It requires teachers to know a good deal about the sound structure of our language, about students’ abilities to segment and blend a word’s phonemes beyond the first sound. It also requires access to high-quality instructional materials and the ability to differentiate instruction to those children who may need it. Finally, it demands good pacing and classroom organization carefully calibrated to maximize the use of instructional time.
If any these requirements break down, the best practice may no longer become best practice. Consequently, another key feature of best practice is that it needs to be implemented well with considerable intention, deliberate practice, and reflection for teachers to be successful at it. Drawing on current research and professional wisdom, we identify a number of best practices seen from our own research perspective. Certainly, they are not all inclusive. Rather, our efforts here are to highlight a set of practices that have amassed a significant body of work to demonstrate their usefulness in improving children’s motivation for learning to read, proficiency in reading, and their likelihood to become lifelong readers and writers. As most reading professionals recognize, vocabulary plays a fundamental role in learning to read.
As learners begin to read, they map the printed vocabulary encountered in texts onto the oral language they bring to the task. Vocabulary, or the labels that we use, are merely the tip of the iceberg. Rather, these words relate to a network of concepts that children develop early on. They enable children to build knowledge networks—connections between concepts that are meaningful and enduring in their longer-term memory and are primary in comprehension development. They become the background knowledge that we know needs to be activated when children are trying to make sense of new ideas. Teaching words in meaningful semantic clusters enhances children’s reading development.
I don’t care what the child reads, as long as he or she reads. But now we know that this is a bit of a misnomer. We do care what children read. Having children engage in books of high quality introduces them to new words, ideas, and events outside of their daily experience. Even in the very early years, children gain a tremendous storehouse of knowledge through their interactions with books. Related to the Common Core State Standards, efforts to increase children’s exposure to information texts has now taken center stage. Studies suggest that the information genre may elicit more cognitively demanding teaching interactions around vocabulary than narrative.