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Early Childhood Reading

Reading is a complex skill that many do not fully understand.  One common misconception is that the ability to read the words of a simple text aloud is all that is necessary to become a competent reader. However, a proficient reader also focuses attention on making connections between the ideas expressed in a text, thus being able to comprehend the text. Although phonemic awareness (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds in a word) is an integral part of the reading process, it must be paired with advanced reading skills (refer to continuum of reading skills).

Developmentally, children enter school with varying levels of reading readiness. With that in mind, and a desire to teach incrementally at the individual child's pace, we have in place a beginning phonics program that serves the needs of all children. Along with phonics, our program prepares the Kindergarten student for reading by teaching those key elements such as phonemic awareness, letter recognition, letter-sound relationships, rhyming, and sequential ordering. All these are critical tools that need to be mastered prior to becoming a proficient reader.

The accompanying chart is an attempt to represent a predictable continuum of reading skills that early childhood students pass through, and where in our program these skills are introduced and reviewed with the goal of mastery. It is important to teach beginning foundational skills before introducing advanced reading skills; however, many concepts overlap and one skill may not be mastered (e.g. decoding) before the introduction of more complex skills (e.g. predicting). Because of individual differences in maturity and rate of development, students in one of our classrooms may fall at many different places on this continuum. Through guided reading groups, the teachers respond to individual needs and focus instruction in order to move each individual student along the continuum.

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