Saturday, August 27, 2011

10 Principles for Assisting Reading. 5. Pause, Prompt, Positive Feeding-back

The next stage of the guided reading session is supported reading. Supported reading implies that the reading is scaffolded, in other words, the supports are meant to be temporary and gradually faded out. The main idea is that the reading guide should gradually release responsibility to the reader as the reader gains in confidence and competence.

The most effective method to promote this self-supported reading is the pause, promp, and praise method. This provides a scaffolding that transfers responsibility to the young or novice reader and overcomes the tendency to rely too much on the reading guide for help. It also overcomes the frustration, and even anger, that can develop when using other methods that focus on accuracy rather than on meaning and enjoyment.

The pause aspect relates to the notion that the reader needs time to process the language and meaning of the text so that they can use compensatory strategies when meaning breaks down. Thus, when the reader makes an error the reading guide should pause and wait until the reader finishes the sentence (a sentence is a complete thought). At the end of the sentence the guide should give a prompt and wait for about three seconds to give the impression that it is the reader's responsibility to self-correct.

The second aspect is the prompt scaffold. This implies that the guide will assist the reader without undermining the reader's responsibility during the reading. However, it must be emphasised that some prompts are better than others. In the next blog I will show which prompts are most effective and why.

The third aspect is a variation of the praise principle.  Readers should be given praise as much as possible for their efforts, particularly since reading is an enormously complex process. Praise should be in the form of positive but accurate feedback. For readers to become strategic, they should be made aware of their reading progress. The main idea is that after some modeling by the reading guide the reader should be encouraged to use self-praise rather than merely looking for external rewards.

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