Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Children Learn to Read

In response to the Article:
The article gave a good review of the two different types of basic reading instruction. In my current job assisting at the Charter school we use a combination of both whole and phonics based reading. This is with a 5th grade Special Ed classroom and the students are very low readers. The instruction is based on phonics. We work on the students learning long and short vowel sounds and blending the sounds in words. We use a number of activities including sight words flashcards and a game called chunks which gives the first few and last few letters on different cards and the students have to match the cards to make real words. This helps them practice sounding out the words and decoding the letters. The students due well with the phonics portions. As well as the phonics lessons we have a weekly story that we read together as a class four or five times. We listen to the story each morning, and then the students practice reading the story aloud to the teacher or in groups where they can help one another sound out words. We place advanced readers with lower readers. The blending of these two techniques works well and the students have shown considerable improvement in their reading this year. I believe that building a foundation with the phonics is the best way to introduce children to learning their letters, sound, and how to read.

In response to the Video:
I watched the video on Mapping the Brain where the researcher spoke on the correlation between brain activity and dyslexia. If this type of testing is truly effective it will be nice to see children's learning disabilities caught at a younger age and the appropriate interventions can be used to correct reading difficulties. It is amazing that only a millisecond of delay in the hearing of a sound can cause such a difficulty with reading. It makes sense as our brain's decode and analyze so quickly that any delay can cause confusion and disorder in understanding.


  1. Ryan, I really liked your blog reflection. It reminds me of what I do with my students daily. The biggest question I have is are you assessing your students regularly to see if they have improved? Do you give students different leveled stories to work on? It sounded as if all the students were reading at the same level.

    In response to your viedo commment...isn't it crazy how much we can find out about ourselves just by studing the brain? Last year I tutored a girl with dyslexia in Spanish. It was a hard task but once I got to understand how she was learning and studying I could make tutoring sessions better. The student relied mostly on learning by hearing...becuase her teacher was from Argentina and had an accent that was hard to understand and she could not read the words in the book I knew that we had to work first on pronouncing the words and bringing a connect to them before fluency in a foreign language was gong to happen. I would love to study the brain more and see how people learn a foreing language...with and without dyslexia. I think that would be AWESOME!

  2. Ryan I really like how you brought your real life experiences into your response in respect to what the article was about. I have not had much experience teaching reading is at all, because I am only a TSS and still working on my teacher certification. I really like to hear others experiences to remember for my own classroom one day. I think it is great that you could explain lessons from your own class in relations to the article. I agree with Marie, when wondering if you use assessment regularly to see where your students are. This would be a great way of seeing who still needs more assistance and who doesn't. You truely put theory to practice in your response and I enjoyed it.

    In relation to the video...I didn't watch that video, but had a similar thing on using brain images for dyslexia. I think it is so fasinating what can be learned through studying the brain. Although, I don't think that diagnosis should be based soley on brain studies I believe that this could aid in diagnosis and even treatment if further studied. This has to do more with the medical model in which has not been my realm of practice in psychology or education...but I like the ideas it proposes.

  3. I liked how you linked real life teaching to the article. The article made it clear how important it is to use phonics skills when dealing with low ability readers and you brought your daily experiences in to prove the article. Thanks. I also watched the same video and I was also amazed at how such a small time delay could have such a profound impact. I hadn't thought about diagnosing students sooner until I read your blog. This would make it easier to diagnose would be problem readers. Although there might be implications from this down the road.