Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10 Principles for Assisting Reading. 6c Scaffolding - Praise

Throughout the world it has been consistently reported that guided reading sessions often end in frustration and anger. One of the factors leading to disappointment is when guided reading sessions focus on the reader being exact rather than on reading for meaning and enjoyment.

The strategic use of praise can reverse this trend. Appropriate praise can provide a positive spin on the guided reading session and prevents this negative situation from developing.  However, not all forms of praise are effective. For example, praise can be ineffective when it is not very specific. For praise to be useful it must be immediate and it should give exact performance feedback so that the reader can lean from the comments. This promotes intrinsic motivation, whereby, the reader is given the information needed and encouraged to develop mastery over the reading process. This should be a reward in itself and it should be acknowledged. In other words, when the reader's efforts are acknowledged while gaining reading competence he/she will be encouraged to develop a sense of pride and achievement.

Instead of 'error spotting' the reading guide should always look for the positives. After all, children usually do more of the right sorts of things while reading, even when making errors. For example, when the reader reads, "The boy hopped on to the house and rode down the street." Respond at the end of the sentence with,  "That was a good try, this word does look like the correct word  and it starts with the letter 'h' and ends in 'e' but it does that word make sense in this sentence?" Praise the correct response with, "I like the way that you self-corrected that word because the sentence now makes sense."

At the end of the reading session ask the child to tell you what he/she learned and what was achieved in the session. Say, "What was the thing that you were happiest about while you were reading?" The main principle is to move from giving praise to encouraging self-praise. This can be enhanced by having the child set a reading goal before reading, e.g., "Today I will try and reread the sentence when I get stuck."

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