by Melissa Caudle of Rock N’ Learn
Teaching reading is extremely rewarding. Seeing the delight in children’s eyes when they discover new ideas, new people, and new worlds is an extreme joy for me. The goal in teaching reading is to help students develop a connection to the text and understand the meaning the author is trying to convey. The best way I have found to do this is to use a balanced approach in teaching reading by incorporating auditory training, decoding skills, and whole language.
Children first respond to literature when it is read to them. Parents snuggling up with their children before bedtime is usually the first time children are introduced to reading. It helps children realize that the words on the page can come alive in an expressive way. This experience can be extended in the classroom using story time and “listen to reading” centers with books on tape or CD, and even some on video. Audio books can also be found in libraries, and even in online resources, such as mycapstonelibrary.com or storylineonline.net. Listening to reading benefits all readers and even nonreaders by:
- modeling fluid reading,
- introducing new vocabulary,
- developing critical listening skills,
- demonstrating expressive reading,
- introducing students to books that are above their reading levels,
- providing a bridge for discussions of new ideas, and
- and introducing new genres that students might not have normally considered.
Once children understand the benefit of reading, they need to be taught decoding skills. Phonics is a series of rules that should be taught incrementally. After rules are taught, students need to be given time to practice using those rules. Using skill sheets or games are good. Many of these can be found on boomleaning.com and teacherspayteacher.com. After learning some phonics rules, students need short reading selections that highlight the rules that have been taught. This helps them to feel successful.
I feel it is important to have rules presented in a story that is short enough so that students don’t get fatigued, but long enough that the story makes sense. Rock ‘N Learn has developed Boom Cards stories in which students can practice using the phonics skills they’ve been taught, and then check themselves by pressing a blue play button to have the sentence read. If children are having difficulty with particular words they can tap each word to hear it read aloud. Words that cannot be sounded out using the rules are taught at the beginning of each story and are called memory words. These Phonics Easy Reader Boom Cards can be used as an intermediate step if a child is not quite ready to read independently.
Boom Cards decks are an excellent solution for both teachers and parents because they are device agnostic. This means that virtually any device with a browser can run these interactive digital stories and lessons.