Those who want to teach “reading skills” rather than foster a sense of the joy of reading, are, in my view only discouraging readers. Good readers are not those who have been taught reading skills, but those who read a lot. We need to find ways to encourage and enable people to read more. This means allowing them to choose what to read, and for hesitant readers, making graded readers available, and encouraging them to listen to the content that they are about to read.
The “reading skills” described by a teacher below can only come from the experience of reading, not from instruction by a reading specialist. Reading skills are declining because young people read less, despite all the efforts to teach reading strategies.
“I agree with you that as we read we are constantly making, confirming or discarding predictions. It is a very active process in our search to make meaning. Skilled readers do this not only at the semantic level (understanding ideas, purpose, context, etc) but also at the syntactic level. We use our own knowledge of syntax to predict an author’s syntax: words and phrases, for example. Some of those so-called errors are sometimes good miscues. As a reader I predicted a word that fits with the syntax but not the word used by an author. This is more than guessing. We also predict using common graphic cues (spaces between words, how letters appear (caps and lower case), how some letters are arranged in patterns, punctuation and more).
Pre-reading activities are crucial to activate prior knowledge and modeling various strategies and thinking aloud with our students can help them become more effective readers. I was always mindful of not skipping any steps as a reading specialist. Today as an ESOL teacher, I continue to support developing readers in the same way.”
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