Excellent reading instructions are the best intervention to the prevention of reading difficulties. The critical importance of the teacher in the prevention of reading difficulties must be recognized, and efforts should be made to provide all teachers with adequate knowledge about reading and the knowledge and skill to teach reading or its developmental precursors. It is imperative that teachers at all grade levels understand the course of literacy development and the role of instruction in optimizing literacy development.

 * Beginning readers need explicit instruction & practice that lead to an appreciation that spoken words are made up of smaller units of sounds, familiarity with spelling-sound correspondences & common spelling conventions & their use in identifying printed words, “sight” recognition of frequent words, & independent reading, including reading aloud. Fluency should be promoted through practice with a wide variety of well-written & engaging texts at the child’s own comfortable reading level.

* Children who have started to read independently, typically 2nd graders & above, should be encouraged to sound out & confirm the identities of visually unfamiliar words they encounter in the course of reading meaningful texts, recognizing words primarily through attention to their
letter-sound relationships. Although context & pictures can be used as a tool to monitor word recognition, children should not be taught to use them to substitute for information provided by the letters in the word.

* Because the ability to obtain meaning from print depends so strongly on the development of word recognition accuracy & reading fluency, both of the latter should be regularly assessed in the classroom, permitting timely & effective instructional response when difficulty or delay is apparent.

* Beginning in the earliest grades, instruction should promote comprehension by actively building linguistic & conceptual knowledge in a rich variety of domains, as well as through direct instruction about comprehension strategies such as summarizing the main idea, predicting events & outcomes of upcoming text, drawing inferences, & monitoring for coherence & misunderstandings. This instruction can take place while adults read to students or when students read themselves.

* Once children learn some letters, they should be encouraged to write them, use them to begin writing words or parts of words, & use words to begin writing sentences. Instruction should be designed with the understanding that the use of invented spelling is not in conflict with teaching correct spelling. Beginning writing with invented spelling can be helpful for developing understanding of the identity & segmentation of speech sounds & sound-spelling relationships. Conventionally correct spelling should be developed through focused instruction & practice. Primary grade children should be expected to spell previously studied words & spelling patterns correctly in their final writing products. Writing should take place regularly & frequently to encourage children to become more comfortable & familiar with it.

* Throughout the early grades, time, materials, & resources should be provided with 2 goals: (a) to support daily independent reading of texts selected to be of particular interest for the individual student, & beneath the individual student’s frustration level, in order to consolidate the student’s capacity for independent reading and (b) to support daily assisted or supported reading &
rereading of texts that are slightly more difficult in wording or in linguistic, rhetorical, or conceptual
structure in order to promote advances in the student’s capabilities.

* Throughout the early grades, schools should promote independent reading outside school by such means as daily at-home reading assignments & expectations, summer reading lists, encouraging parent involvement, and by working with community groups, including public librarians, who share this goal.


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