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Reading and Writing for Primary Age Students

Reading can be compared to driving a car with a manual shift.  It takes practice to smoothly transition between gears.  It also takes practice to integrate the three cueing systems in reading smoothly – Meaning, Structure, and Visual.  Children begin reading when they hear a story read by an adult.  Often times, they will memorize a favorite book just by listening and looking at the pictures.  Over time, they begin to notice letters and words.  Problems arise when visual confusions manifest such as p/q, b/d, w/m to name just a few.  Ultimately, this may generalize into words – saw/was, for/of, now/won.  Children can get lost in this visual maze thereby ignoring the meaning of the story and the language structure the author chooses to use.  This can also translate into writing and spelling issues.  The causes of these confusions may be the result of different learning factors.  Through thoughtful observation of the child by the teacher while reading, specific areas of concern can be addressed within the context of meaningful text using a variety of tools.  The same method can be applied to writing and can even be linked to the context of a familiar book the child has read.  The key is to choose an easy book – one with only one or two challenges – in order for the child to maintain fluency and to feel successful.  Some of the methods utilized in instruction will be as follows:

  • Focus on whole text to integrate Meaning, Structure, and Visual cues
  • Building mastery of high frequency words
  • Multisensory approach to constructing words in isolation (ex: magnetic letters, white board, tag board, finger tracing, visualizing)
  • Building on known words to decode unknown words
  • Mapping language into writing and reading through familiar text.
  • Use of Running Record to monitor student’s reading progress.
  • Use of student dictated stories.