Monday, 10 August 2020

PD: The Reading Book

This term, the teachers at Pt England School are taking part in ongoing Reading PD to try to create a common language when teaching our students how to read. We have noticed that we have a large number of students in our school who get stuck at that 8-9 year old reading level. We have also realised over the years that a number of these students often struggle during the first few years of school to reach that 8 year old reading level. By creating a common teaching language and technique across our school, we hope that student success will be seen year to year. 

As a way to develop our common language, the Reading Committee is taking a look at "The Reading Book" by Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey (2019). Prior to the Covid-19, Auckland Level 3 Lockdown Round 2 (Term 3, 2020), the Reading Committee was taking a closer look at a few pages from this book as we developed the next phase of the on-going professional development. 

Some of the key ideas when looking at students who are learning to read are:

  • Getting Ready for Reading
    • Build phonic awareness and develop visual skills
      • Students need to hear, identify and make general letter sounds
      • Share rhymes, alliterations, action songs, poems
      • Break words into syllables with claps
  • Learning to Read
    • Hear and identify initial sounds
      • Learn letter names and sounds
      • Hear and identify initial letter sounds of a word
    • Hear and identify final word sounds
      • Hear and identify find sound in word
      • Identify letters that are part of the sound
  • Developing Independence
    • Hear and identify medial vowel sounds in CVC words
    • Break CVC words into 3-4 phonemes
    • Begin to recognise and identify digraph sounds (if present)
    • Hear and identify clusters of consonants
  • Becoming Proficient
    • Introduce common long vowel sounds
    • Introduce other long vowel sounds (ie-car, fast)
It is also important to know how to teach students about chunking (morphology) to support spelling, decoding and vocabulary development. 

Students need to be taught explicit self-monitoring strategies so that they are able to monitor their understanding and build awareness of comprehension. As readers become more proficient, they are able to activate their prior knowledge and unconsciously access four cuing systems. The four cuing systems are:
  1. Prior Knowledge: What do I already know?
  2. Structure/syntax: Does that sound right?
  3. Meaning/semantics: Does this make sense?
  4. Visual/ Graphophonic information: Does that look right?   
In an effort to ensure that students at Pt England are unconsciously using those four self-monitoring cues, we will be diving deeper into the shared language provided through using teaching prompts from a previous Gwenneth Phillips professional development based on the research conducted in "Picking Up the Pace." Our hope is that by using a common language when reading aloud with our "learning to read" students, they will have more success as they move up through the school without having to learn a new teaching style every year. 

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