As parents and educators, I believe we should have a wholistic approach to teaching our children how to read.
There are so many facets to learning to read. Often when we think of “learning to read”, we think about sounding out words, learning letters names, sounds, and blends.
While decoding is a HUGE part of learning to read (obviously!), there are many other parts to reading with understanding that have to be taught and practiced by the young reader.
In the past, I used to assume that if a child could read the words on the page (especially if they had great decoding and fluency skills) that they were also comprehending what they were reading. However, over time, I have realized that decoding and fluency does not equal understanding.
For example, let’s say I am reading a chemistry textbook out loud. Because I can decode the words, read at a good pace, and with expression, you might assume that I am understanding what I am reading.
However, I assure you that I am not comprehending most of what I am reading because I do not have the background knowledge needed to understand a chemistry textbook.
This silly example demonstrates that there is more to reading than decoding words. Reading is decoding and comprehension with the goal of complete understanding.
We should not wait until students are able to decode words to then begin teaching comprehension. Instead, we should be teaching students to comprehend and decode at the same time.
A wholistic reading approach focuses on the decoding of words, reading fluency, background knowledge, and comprehension in order to solidify understanding when reading.
Follow along with me as we break down each part of the reading process and think about how we can help our little ones become avid readers!
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