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Reading Strategies

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Curriculum is determined by the knowledge and skills that students need. What knowledge and skills do students need? One approach is that students need the knowledge and skills to apply strategies used by independent readers as they become increasingly proficient. This section outlines these reading strategies used by students.
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Strategies used to decode unfamiliar words

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The first listed of these strategies for decoding is especially important for the emergent reader.
  • use simultaneous cueing systems & monitor
  • cross-check. Check one cue with another. Ask yourself, "Does this word look right, sound right, and make sense?"
    This widely accepted concept has dissenters. The main argument seems to be over assigning a priority order to the cueing systems ie teaching the concept as a three-step process implies the first step is most important. The problem seems to come when the cross-check aspect gets lost. In the article Three-Cueing System, Marilyn Jager Adams gives a personal account of her growing concern with the misinterpretation of the three-cueing system. Sebastian Wren carries this further saying, "This potentially pernicious model is analogous to a puzzle in which all of the right pieces are arranged incorrectly."
  • self-correct. Fix it up.
    The cross-check leads to confirmation or self-correcting.
Once past the emergent stage, a student may also isolate any of the following as a strategy.
  • use phonetic analysis. Use awareness of phonemes to apply phonics generalizations.
  • use word elements: chunking, affixes & roots (structural analysis)
  • use contextual clues: pictures; skip, read on, go back and reread
Although “don’t point” is an admonition to the fluent reader, there are kinesthetic strategies for decoding.
  • use kinesthetic: point to word when necessary, or run finger along under word
For more on decoding, check the following articles:
Reading - Rx for Success is a provocative article by Spalding advocate Linda Schrock Taylor. Anyone can teach child to read, schools aren't. Refers to collecting a first aid kit for reading problems.
You and your students might both enjoy the poem Independent Strategies.
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page last updated: 4/12/05
© 2003-2005, Mary Berry. All rights reserved.