Saturday, August 20, 2011

10 Principles for Assisting Reading. 4. Patterning & Fluency Building

For many reluctant readers the task of reading can be quite challeging and can produce a great deal of anxiety, particularly when it is a constant reminder of past failures. Consequently, their response may often be one of avoidance of anything to do with reading. Thus, a situation can develop in which the child would prefer to avoid reading rather than to read and fail at the task. This condition is commonly referred to as learned helplessness. What is needed is an environment whereby readers are encouraged to experiment and to risk-take, to find what strategies work for them without having their weaknesses highlighted.

One very effective strategy that can promote a more collaborative and supportive atmosphere is the reading together technique. The idea is that the reading guide and the reader read orally in unison. The reading guide sets the pace and models the reading by using expression and fluency. The young reader reads along but is instructed to ignor any errors and to keep pace with the reading flow. This works more effectively when the reading follows on from a discussion of the story, hearing the story, and familiarisation of the new vocabulary in the story.

This technique enhances motivation because it builds upon the trusting relationship that has been developed. It fosters competence, particularly with fluency, expression, and using the context beyond the word level. The third motivational element that is promoted is reader autonomy. This later element is enhanced when the reader is expected monitor their own meaning-making while compensating for reading glitches. Autonomy can be encouraged further when the reader is instructed to tap the reading guide on the arm when he/she feels confident enough to read independently.

1 comment:

  1. One may immediately think that ignoring errors will lead to poor reading skills. However, at this stage the emphasis is on fluency and using the context to assist the reading process. Fluent reading can lighten the load on working memory and enhance reading comprehension.