Do You Consider Yourself a Reader???
A group of students who have a Primary Language Disorder gave varied responses when asked “Do you think you are a reader?” and “What makes a good reader?”. A number of the students stated that they did not think of themselves as readers and their responses gave an interesting insight into their perceptions of a ‘reader’. Responses to “What makes a good reader?” included
“Doesn’t break the book” – boy aged 8
“Read the lines, read the words” – girl aged 8
“Practise every day” – boy aged 8
“Read lots of books “– girl aged 9
“Sound the words out”– girl aged 9
“Read easy books then harder and harder books” – boy aged 9
“Don’t guess words, break them up and sound them out” – girl aged 10
“Do lots of reading then you will get a job” – boy aged 10
“Read different level books up to 115” – boy aged 9
When people talk about ‘reading’ they tend to think of books, but ‘reading’ is more than this. You can read the waves at the beach, video games, a football game, the weather or a person’s face when they are angry.
In the Australian Curriculum (2013) the definition of ‘read’ is to process words, symbols or actions to derive and/or construct meaning. Reading includes interpreting, critically analysing and reflecting upon the meaning of a wide range of written and visual, print and non-print texts.
According to David Sousa (2001):
There are no areas of the brain that specialise in reading. Reading is probably the most difficult task we ask the brain to undertake.
Reading is a complex task and there are three main areas requiring attention in the reading process – reading engagement, oral fluency and comprehension strategies. Weakness in any one of these aspects can diminish the reader’s full understanding of a text. Students with a Primary Language Disorder may have a weakness in one or more of these aspects. Parents of these children often ask “How can I help my child?”. According to Fountas and Pinnell (2006), some principles to bear in mind to assist with developing the reading process are:
- Students need to read a variety of texts to build a reading process
- Students need to hear many texts read aloud
- Students need different levels of support at different times
- The more students read for authentic purposes, the more likely they are to make a place for reading in their lives
- Students need to see themselves as readers who have tastes and preferences.
Jan Morey – Teacher and Jackie McAlister – Teacher, The Glenleighden School
Fountas, I. C. and Pinnel G. S. (2006) Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency: Thinking, Talking and Writing about Reading, K-8, Heinemann
Sousa, D. A. (2001) How the Brain Learns: A Classroom Teacher’s Guide, California: Corwin Press.
The Australian Curriculum, 2013, ACARA, viewed 14 February 2013, http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/English/Curriculum/F-10