Reading from a surface approach involves gathering facts and information, such as reading a bus timetable, restaurant menu or DIY instructions. We may also read fiction to be entertained or for the purpose of learning, in which case a deeper approach is needed that includes interpreting and gaining meaning from the text, as well as a list of other key skills and higher order thinking.
The purpose of reading influences the level of skill required and becomes not simply a way to see what is said, but to recognise and reflect on what is said: taking into account subtleties such as bias, assumptions and the perspectives of the author. Paying close attention to how and why the author writes something will open us up to their perspective on life, which can in turn enrich our understanding of the world we live in.
In this way, reading can give us access to many different worlds and helps us develop so many aspects of ourselves too, including our minds, emotions, knowledge-base and skill-set. Reading opens all these doors for us to improve the quality of our lives in the short term and longer term, (by way of increasing job prospects).
How your child feels about reading and his/her attitude towards books can make a huge difference to your child’s reading experience and motivation. If s/he feel anxious about the content, genre of the book, their knowledge of vocabulary – these factors will reduce his/her reading pleasure. However, if s/he has a sound practice and understanding of reading based on reliable reading strategies – this will not only increase their reading pleasure but will benefit his/her comprehension in ALL subject areas, providing a confident learning platform for them to stand.
The purpose of an effective reading practise is to develop a deep involvement with books and learning strategies that help children cope with parts of books that seem difficult. Engaging with text requires active thinking and reflecting, which increases comprehension: generating questions; making connections; applying knowledge from text as evidence; extrapolating key facts; providing explanations; identifying and discussing unfamiliar words, and presenting alternative perspectives are all higher order thinking skills that stimulate learning. Deep engagement with a text also includes the structure as well as other essential devices and features of writing.
The benefits of reading aloud and listening to stories is well documented and determines that this strategy builds good reading habits; stimulates imagination and emotions; models good reading processes and children develop a rich language base with an appreciation of the power of words. It's never too early to start reading aloud to little ones. When reading aloud as a strategy, teachers read books with variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact. Books are selected from various genres such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry and informational texts. For added dramatic effect that promotes engagement, parents are also encouraged to use techniques such as a change of tone, pace and volume when reading aloud to their children.
Re-reading a text several times is also a highly effective strategy that promotes reading fluency, better recall of details, improved word recognition. Learning is a social activity and the findings from much research shows that students learn more with peers in small and paired group work, compared with learning in isolation or teacher-dominated instruction. Peer collaboration should therefore be integral to a strong teaching practice.
Our award-winning reading programmes offer a solid foundation of core skills. We teach children to read, from 3½ years old. Find out more.
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