Throughout the process of reflecting and comparing personal reading experiences as the introduction to this course, I noticed that many others and I remembered either being read to or reading short starter books, but we often attributed our reading skills to lessons learned at home with a parent or older sibling and not as often in school with a teacher. After reading the article “Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science”, I agreed with Moats’s belief that the complexity of reading could only be taught well by a teacher knowledgeable about literacy development, but it still did not connect with the trend that people remembered learning to read at home. This difference caused me to realize that people define reading in two different ways: (1) the ability to pronounce words and accurately read a text aloud, and (2) the skill of reading and comprehending a text for its meaning and content. With literacy development being the skill building process for the second of the two definitions, Moats is accurate in saying that “children of average ability might learn enough about reading to get by, but may not develop the appreciation for language structure that supports learning words from context, organization of the mental dictionary, comparing words, or precise use of language”(p. 12); I believe that if asked when they learned to study and discuss books at a young age, the majority of people would refer back to an experience in the classroom.
Knowing that well-trained teachers are essential to students’ development of reading skills, the instructional videos and readings studied in class thus far have focused on three general themes: the importance of selecting the right books and the right questions for each student (Calkins, p. 34), the need for engaging with literature on a daily basis at home and at school, and teaching reading and comprehension through both direct literary lessons and indirect lessons with a reading component (Moats, p. 8). Within these three themes, it is also evident that a teacher’s success with teaching reading is dependent on meeting and challenging each student at his or her own reading level so that they are able to engage and make personal connections with the text (Flint, p. 301) and improve comprehension skills without being under- or over-challenged.
Calkins, L. (2001). The art of teaching reading. New York: Longman.
Flint, A. (2008). Literate lives: Teaching reading & writing in elementary classrooms. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Moats, L. C. (1999). Teaching reading is rocket science: What expert teachers of reading should
know and be able to do. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.