Learning to read is distinctly different from learning to play a sport, ride a bike, or play a musical instrument. Although some essentials are the same (explicit instruction and lots of practice), learning to read requires the brain to internalize an array of invisible sub-skills. According to the National Reading Panel Report, the following 5 components are the essential pieces of proficient reading:
1. Phonemic Awareness (hearing individual sounds)
2. Phonics (decoding short and long words)
3. Fluency (speed and rhythm, plus intonation)
4. Vocabulary (growing one's "book word" knowledge)
5. Comprehension (actively engaging with the words and the author)
Since the goal of reading is comprehension - the thinking and feeling part of reading - these sub-skills must be “second nature” in order for us to fluidly move through pages in a book, website, consumer guide, etc. The child who does not master these sub-skills in the primary grades often develops ineffective habits, such as word-skipping; avoiding reading, “pretend reading” during classroom silent reading time; and inattentiveness to rich vocabulary words. And even for the child who easily masters decoding (figuring out how to pronounce words) the process of reading is still a complex one.
Think about the last thing you read. An editorial in the newspaper? A school newsletter from your child’s teacher? A report on water quality in your community? A novel? If you could recapture your mental processes, you would find a lengthy list of strategies, emotions, and particular world knowledge that helped you carry away facts or impressions or changes of attitude. Likely you had an internal conversation with yourself and the author, and, depending on how complex the text was, you paused, backtracked, made connections, visualized, adjusted your rate, and monitored your understanding of the main idea.In school and work reading and writing are what so many other skills and learning curves hinge on. Many careers demand that an ability to quickly grasp internet information, paraphrase websites, synthesize a quarterly report, discern a well-written article from another, and write up reports for government, the private sector, or laymen. The level of attunement to one’s comprehension process and memory is paramount.
In school and work reading and writing are what so many other skills and learning curves hinge on. Many careers demand that an ability to quickly grasp internet information, paraphrase websites, synthesize a quarterly report, discern a well-written article from another, and write up reports for government, the private sector, or laymen. The level of attunement to one’s comprehension process and memory is paramount.
I work with all ages in fine-tuning the writing process, and expressing oneself precisely and concisely.
In the primary grades, learning to Write is the inverse of reading, where fine motor agility, sound/spelling connections, vocabulary banks, and sentence sense must come together in the early grades to lend “voice” to our ideas in written form, even though they are 1-4 sentences in length in 1st grade.
As we grow older, a wealth of sub-skills must be in place in order to express clear thoughts and feelings. Just like reading is an active - rather than a passive - process, writing requires keen attention to internal self-talk, and the nuances of the English language. Keeping in mind the overall message of what you are writing and the audience you are writing for, while tackling syntax, spelling, best word choice, and the flow from sentence to sentence, is a multi-layered undertaking for many children and adults. Skilled and fluid writers manage this multi-layered task with internal dialogue, moving backward and forward through the piece, and re-reading so efficiently that they cannot feel themselves revisiting a sentence several times over.
If children are to become problem solvers in the act of writing, they need to see the process modeled by a competent adult, which demystifies the process. They must be given individualized monitoring tools and internal “scripts” in order to expand their tool kit of writing strategies, and improve their stamina and sophistication as writers.
Professional Development with Kendra provides teachers with a foundation in how research on reading and brain research translate to the classroom.
How the Brain Learns to Read and What Reading Does for the Brain
Become familiar with the culminating research on the brain, cognitive science, and instructional methodology, and how it integrates with the Five Pillars of Reading: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
Using Reading Assessments to Tailor Instruction
Learn how to administer quick literacy assessments that give you concrete information about a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Plan and customize instruction and curriculum to meet the needs of each student.
Accelerating Struggling Readers
Improve reading proficiency of at-risk, ELL, and LD students, using research-based methods and motivation strategies.
Support for Reading Coaches
Develop skills for how to work with teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and administrators. Fine-tune the ability to build effective literacy teams geared toward systemic reform.
K-8 On-Site Demonstration Lessons
(one hour for each lesson)
Lessons, Small Groups, Games, and Assessments can all be modeled.