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ARTICLE-The Role of Language Development, Phonics, Vocabulary, And Fluency in Comprehension Instruction

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   10-14-05 2.2.31 The Role of Language Development, Phonics, Vocabulary, andFluency in Comprehension Instruction “Learning to read is one of the most important things children accomplish in elementary school because it is their foundation for most of their future academic endeavors. From the middle elementary years through the rest of their lives as students, children spend much of their time reading and learning information presented in text. The activity of reading to learn requires students to comprehend and recall the main ideas or themes  presented……in text” !tevens, !lavin, Farnish, #$$#, p. %&. The National Reading Panel (2000) opens the section of its report on comprehension ith the a!o e #$otation% emphasi&ing the importance of reading comprehension and the 'de elopmental ie that children m$st first learn ho to recogni&e and relate print to oral lang$age noledge and to mae this recognition a$tomatic and fl$ent thro$gh practice (p. 4-11). *omprehension is ieed as the 'essence of reading and necessar+ for academic and lifelong learning (,$rin% 13). et/s re ie the ario$s factors that contri!$te to de eloping comprehension. s +o$ consider each element% $nderstand that hile each is necessar+% none can stand alone if st$dents are to constr$ct meaning from hat the+ read. Language Development ang$age de elopment pla+s a cr$cial role in reading comprehension (,icenson  Ta!ors% 2001 art  Risle+% 15). s children learn to read% the+ !$ild on a fo$ndation of lang$age de elopment that !egan at !irth. *hildren need to ha e the opport$nit+ and an en ironment to de elop lang$age and lang$age str$ct$re as the fo$ndation for reading comprehension. hen children enter school% the+ need to !e eposed to a lang$age-rich classroom to de elop the oca!$lar+ and lang$age str$ct$re needed for !eginning reading and reading comprehension. These classrooms incl$de rich disc$ssions% tho$ghtf$l #$estion-and-anser periods% and en6o+a!le and engaging acti ities connected to the learning en ironment. ll of thesehelp st$dents mo e toard an $nderstanding of hat the+ read% an en6o+ment of thetet% a moti ation to read independentl+% and to !ecoming 'good readers (7$rns% 8riffin%  9no% 1). Phonics *hildren !egin to de elop the fo$ndation for reading comprehension at !irth thro$gh their lang$age de elopment. oe er% children do not ac#$ire the specific sills that are needed to decode ritten ords in the co$rse of learning to spea. The decoding sills necessar+ for reading comprehension re#$ire eplicit instr$ction in phonics. hen reading connected tet% readers m$st constr$ct sentence meanings and retain them in memor+ as the+ mo e on to ne sentences. Therefore% !eing   10-14-05 2.2.32 a!le to decode ords ith minimal effort ena!les the reader to foc$s on the meaningof the ords in the contet of the passage !eing read (National Reading Panel% 2000). ,irect teaching of a set of letter-so$nd relationships in a clearl+ defined se#$ence ith ma6or so$nd:spelling relationships of !oth consonants and oels reflects the process of s+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001). Research data on phonics anal+&ed !+ the National Reading Panel (2000) s$pports the folloing concl$sions< ã 9+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction is more effecti e than nons+stematic instr$ction or no phonics instr$ction. ã 9+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction significantl+ impro es indergarten and first-grade children/s ord recognition and spelling. ã 9+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction significantl+ impro es children/s reading comprehension. ã 9+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction is effecti e for children from ario$s social and economic le els. ã 9+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction is partic$larl+ !eneficial for children ho are ha ing diffic$lt+ learning to read and ho are at-ris for de eloping f$t$re reading pro!lems. ã 9+stematic and eplicit phonics instr$ction is most effecti e hen introd$ced earl+. ã Phonics instr$ction is not an entire reading program for !eginning readers.Phonics sho$ld !e ta$ght for approimatel+ to +ears. =f phonics instr$ction is introd$ced earl+ in indergarten% it sho$ld !e completed !+ the end of first grade for most st$dents (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001). Vocabulary hen lang$age de elops from lang$age-rich classrooms% oca!$lar+-rich con ersation% and eperiences to !$ild prior noledge% children !egin to ac#$ire the oca!$lar+ that is necessar+ for reading comprehension. =n anal+&ing the research data on reading comprehension% the National Reading Panel (2000) fo$nd that the role of oca!$lar+ and oca!$lar+ instr$ction is critical to reading comprehension. 7eca$se lang$age de elopment is the fo$ndation for the   10-14-05 2.2.33 de elopment of oca!$lar+% the more lang$age eperience the child has% the more oca!$lar+ the child learns (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001).>oca!$lar+ is important to reading comprehension. Readers need to no the meaning of the ords the+ are reading in order to comprehend the tet. Researchersoften refer to fo$r t+pes of oca!$lar+ (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001)< ã istening oca!$lar+ ? the ords e need to no to $nderstand hat e hear  ã 9peaing oca!$lar+ ? the ords e $se hen speaing ã Reading oca!$lar+ ? the ords e need to no to $nderstandhat e read ã riting oca!$lar+ ? the ords e $se in riting>oca!$lar+ is learned !oth indirectl+ and directl+. *hildren learn the meanings of most ords indirectl+% thro$gh e er+da+ eperiences ith oral and ritten lang$age in three a+s (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001)< ã The+ engage dail+ in oral lang$age !+ participating in con ersations% hearing ords repeated% and hearing ad$lts $se ne and interesting ords. ã The+ listen to ad$lts read to them% ha ing ne ords eplained% ha ing con ersations a!o$t the !oo hen finished reading% and relating information to prior noledge. ã The+ read etensi el+ on their on% considering ne ords the+ enco$nter hen reading independentl+.9ome oca!$lar+ can !e ta$ght directl+. Teachers pro ide st$dents ith specific ord instr$ction and ith strategies for learning ne ords. 9pecific ord instr$ctionincl$des teaching specific ords !efore reading (7ec% Perfetti%  @cAeon% 1B2)% acti e engagement ith oca!$lar+ (,ole% 9loan%  Trathen% 15)% and repeated epos$re to ords (7rett% Rothlein%  $rle+% 1C). 9t$dents need to !e pro ided ith ord learning strategies that incl$de ho to $se the dictionar+ and other reference materials% ho to $se information a!o$t ord parts to fig$re o$t meaning of ords% and ho to $se contet cl$es to determine ord meanings (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001). Teachers need to decide hat ne oca!$lar+ ords sho$ld !e ta$ght since all $nnon ords cannot !e ta$ght. The foc$s sho$ld !e on teaching three t+pes of ords (rm!r$ster% ehr%  ;s!orn% 2001)<   10-14-05 2.2.34 ã =mportant ords--ords that are important for $nderstanding the concepts ã Dsef$l ords--ords that st$dents are liel+ to see and $se again and again ã ,iffic$lt ords--ords ith m$ltiple meanings or idiomatic epressions.Teachers can help st$dents de elop oca!$lar+ !+ fostering ord conscio$sness--an aareness of and an interest in ords% their meanings and their poer. Readers ho are ord conscio$s no man+ ords and learn them ell. Readers de elop ord conscio$sness in se eral a+s< ã  ttending to the a$thor/s choice of ords ã Pla+ing ith ords (e.g.% p$ns and palindromes) ã Researching ord srcins ã Einding eamples of ord $sage Fluency El$enc+ pro ides the !ridge !eteen ord recognition and comprehension. Teachers need to assess st$dents/ oral reading to determine the st$dents/ de elopment in ord recognition and fl$enc+--to critical elements in o erall reading s$ccess (National Reading Panel% 2000). ssessing or o!ser ing reading is diffic$lt since the process associated ith reading taes place in the !rain. Recent or !+ cogniti e scientists $sing !rain imaging technolog+ has shon that certain areas of the !rain !ecome more acti e d$ring reading (olfe% 2001).  ltho$gh ed$cators do not ha e the means to ha e images of the st$dent/s !rain hen reading% a st$dent/s oral reading does gi e a indo into the reading process. 7+ anal+&ing the #$alit+ of the st$dent/s oral reading and an+ de iations from the tet% the teacher can determine a st$dent/s strengths and eanesses in ord recognition% fl$enc+% and% to a lesser degree% comprehension. Teachers can mae inferences regarding the strategies the st$dent is $sing !ased on the n$m!er and t+pe of mistaes the st$dent maes (Rasinsi% 2003).Reading demands a certain le el of acc$rac+ in decoding ords correctl+ in order to comprehend the meaning of the tet s$ccessf$ll+. The standard to indicate ade#$ate decoding hile reading a contin$o$s tet is 0-5F acc$rac+. This 0-5F acc$rac+ is called the st$dent/s instructional   le el% a le el here the st$dent can read the tet !$t ith the assistance of the teacher.  st$dent reading at C-100F le el of acc$rac+ is considered to !e reading independently  . =f a st$dent is reading !elo 0F% the tet is generall+ considered too diffic$lt for that child (8illet  Temple% 2000).
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