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

Reading 1

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. 

Reading 2

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

References:

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

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