Reading is a lifelong participation sport!

READING RESEARCH

Important Factors In Teaching Children To Read

Research Findings | Recommendation & Activities

(The following quoted information was taken from The Report Of The National Reading Panel.)

Congressional Charge

"In 1997, Congress asked the 'Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the status of research-based knowledge, including the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children to read."

"In response to this Congressional request, the Director of NICHD, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, constituted and charged a National Reading Panel (NRP or the Panel)."

"A progress report was submitted to Congress in February 1999."

After reviewing thousands of research studies dating back to the early 1970's, and conducting regional hearings in Chicago (May 29, 1998), Portland, OR (June 5, 1998), Houston (June 8, 1998), New York (June 23, 1998), and Jackson, MS (July 9, 1998), the Panel adopted the following topics for intensive study:

Alphabetics - Phonemic Awareness Instruction:
Phonemic awareness instruction focuses on teaching children to use spoken sounds when learning to read. For example, the long i sound as in the words "hi" and "bike" can be produced by such letter combinations as: ie as in pie, igh as in high, "y" as in "why", i_e as in like (otherwise known as the silent e rule), and others. There are more phoneme sounds in the English language than letters in the alphabet.
Here are some of the research findings from the NRP Report: "correlational studies have identified Phonemic Awareness (PA) and letter knowledge as the two best school entry predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first 2 years of instruction."

"...that teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading more than instruction that lack any attention to PA."

Recommendations for home -- Alphabetics: Phonemic Awareness Instruction

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Alphabetics - Phonics Instruction:
Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds and their use in reading and spelling. Once children learn their letters and sounds they are better able to use phonemic awareness to help them read words.

Here are some of the research findings from the NRP Report: "...that systematic phonics instruction enhances children's success in learning to read and that systematic instruction is significantly more effective than instruction that teaches little or no phonics."

"Older children receiving phonics instruction were better able to decode and spell words and to read text orally, but their comprehension of text was not significantly improved." In other words learning to pronounce words correctly doesn't guarantee good comprehension, but its a necessary step in the process.

"Systematic synthetic phonics instruction (teaching students to convert letters into sounds, phonemes, and then blend the sounds to form recognizable words) had a positive and significant effect on disabled readers' reading skills."

"...systematic phonics instruction should be integrated with other reading instruction in phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension strategies to create a complete reading program."

"...that fluent and automatic application of phonics skills to text is another critical skill that must be taught and learned to maximize oral reading and reading comprehension."

Recommendations for home -- Alphabetics: Phonics Instruction

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Fluency:
"Fluency is the ability to read orally with speed, accuracy and proper expression."

Here are some of the research findings from the NRP Report: "...that guided repeated oral reading procedures that included guidance from teachers, peers, or parents had a significant and positive impact on word recognition, fluency, and comprehension across a range of grade levels."

"...having students engage in independent silent reading with minimal guidance or feedback, the Panel was unable to find a positive relationship between programs and instruction that encourage large amounts of independent reading and improvements in reading achievement, including fluency. In other words ... there is still not sufficient research evidence ... to support the idea that such efforts reliably increase how much students read or that such programs result in improved reading skills." (This doesn't mean that independent silent reading doesn't have a positive influence on fluency, vocabulary development, or reading comprehension. The Panel feels that not enough quality studies have been conducted to determine the real impact of independent silent reading on increased reading ability.)

Recommendations for home -- Fluency

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Comprehension - Vocabulary Instruction:
"Comprehension is defined as 'intentional thinking during which meaning is constructed through interactions between text and reader' (Harris & Hodges, 1995)."

Here are some of the research findings from the NRP Report: "Vocabulary is critically important in oral reading instruction... Consequently, the larger the reader's vocabulary (either oral or print), the easier it is to make sense of the text."

"The use of computers in vocabulary instruction was found to be more effective than some traditional methods in a few studies."

"Vocabulary also can be learned incidentally in the context of storybook reading or in listening to others. Learning words before reading a text also is helpful... In addition, substituting easy words for more difficult words can assist low-achieving students."

"Vocabulary should be taught both directly and indirectly... Learning in rich contexts, incidental learning, and use of computer technology all enhance the acquisition of vocabulary... Finally, dependence on single vocabulary instruction method will not result in optimal learning."

Recommendations for home -- Comprehension: Vocabulary Instruction

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Comprehension - Text Comprehension Instruction:
"Comprehension is defined as 'intentional thinking during which meaning is constructed through interactions between text and reader' (Harris & Hodges, 1995)."

Here are some of the research findings from the NRP Report: "The data suggest that text comprehension is enhanced when readers actively relate the ideas represented in print to their own knowledge and experiences and construct mental representations in memory."

The Panel concluded that of the 16 categories of text comprehension instruction studied, 7 appear to be the most effective in improving comprehension in non-impaired readers. They are:
comprehension monitoring
cooperative learning
use of graphic and semantic organizers (including story maps)
question answering
question generation
story structure
summarization

"In general, the evidence suggests that teaching a combination of reading comprehension techniques is the most effective... the literature also suggest that teaching comprehension in the context of specific academic areas - for example, social studies - can be effective."

Recommendations for home -- Comprehension: Text comprehension Instruction

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Computer Technology and Reading Instruction:
Since the use of technology in the instruction of reading is a relatively new field, the Panel found only 21 studies with which to make some general statements.

Here are some of the research findings from the NRP Report: "First, all the studies report positive results, suggesting that it is possible to use computer technology for reading instruction."

"...the addition of speech to computer presented text indicate that this may be a promising use of technology in reading instruction."

"The use of hypertext (highlighted text that links to underlying definitions or supporting or related text, almost like an electronic footnote), while technically not reading instruction, may have instructional advantage."

"The use of computers as word processors may be very useful, given that reading instruction is most effective when combined with writing instruction."

Recommendations for home -- Comprehension: Computer Technology and Reading Instruction

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTIVITIES FOR HOME

 

Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Instruction: Activities

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Fluency Instruction: Activities

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Comprehension - Vocabulary Instruction: Activities

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

Comprehension - Text Comprehension Instruction: Activities

Back to Research Topics | Back to Top

 

Back to Focus on Reading

Updated 10/31/01