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Monday, February 19, 2018
Holland Township School
Child Study Team
Dr. Elizabeth (Marcy) Calamito - Learning Disability Teacher Consultant
Kathryn Wilk - Certified School Psychologist
Hally Tomasheski - School Social Worker
Arlene Gondyke - CST Secretary - ext. 331 - M-F - ext. 340 - M-F - ext. 230 - T, Th, F(pm) - ext. 318 - M-F


Learning to read is an important milestone for all children. It is a process that children learn gradually and involves many steps. There are five distinctive aspects to the process of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency. These five aspects work together to create the reading experience.

Phonics is the connection between sounds and letter symbols. It is also the combination of these sound-symbol connections to create words. Phonics is one of the primary building blocks of reading. Without an understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds, reading cannot occur. The best way to teach phonics is through a systematic and sequential process. Systematic instruction can focus on synthetic phonics (decoding words by translating letters into sounds and then blending them), analytic phonics (identifying whole words then breaking them down into their letter-sound connections), analogy phonics (using familiar parts of words to discover new words), phonics through spelling (using sound-letter connections to write words) and/or phonics in context (combining sound-letter connections with context clues to decode new words). Each section may be taught alone or together. Phonemic awareness is closely related to phonics but phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are created from phonemes (small units of sound in language) while phonics is the connection between sounds and letters. Phonemes are sounds only and are most often learned before a child begins to read because they are centered on the sounds of language rather than written words. Phonemic awareness is a necessary pre-requisite to reading and is important that it is included in early reading or pre-reading instruction.

We need to know and understand words before we can read them. As children become more advanced readers they not only learn to connect their oral vocabularies (the words we know when they are spoken) to their reading vocabularies (the words we know when they are used in print) they also strengthen each of these areas by adding new words to their repertoires. Vocabulary is taught through explicit instruction (someone directly explaining how to pronounce each vocabulary word and tell you what it means) or by utilizing context clues (reading the hints contained within the text to help decipher a word and figure out what it means). Obtaining vocabulary words is once again, an ongoing process throughout one’s life.

Fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. Fluency can be measured through oral reading but it can also occur while reading silently. Your ability to move through a piece of text at a fluid pace while evoking the meaning and feeling of it demonstrates your fluency. Fluency is very much tied to reading comprehension. If one must continually take the time to look at each word to decode them, they loose the picture they are creating in their mind that tells about the story. An individual can also read so quickly that they cannot master what the words on the page are saying and then still cannot form a picture in their mind; therefore, loose the overall intent of what the words were saying.  We read to comprehend. Reading comprehension involves all the prior components to make sense of the words on the page. It is a complex process that only improves over time with instruction and practice.

A disability that impacts many individuals is dyslexia. Dyslexic individuals are highly creative, intuitive, and excel at three-dimensional problem solving and hands-on learning. However, individuals with dyslexia also have trouble learning letter-sound correspondence, blending and segmenting phonemes, memorizing letter sequences, and recognizing words rapidly. They also experience difficulty with reading at the appropriate grade level, usually seen reading well below the expected level, problems processing and understanding what he or she hears, difficulty comprehending rapid instructions, trouble following more than one command at a time, problems remembering the sequence of things, difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words, an inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word, seeing letters or words in reverse ("b" for "d" or "saw" for "was," for example) — this is common in young children, but may be more pronounced in children with dyslexia, and difficulty spelling. There's no cure for dyslexia. It's a lifelong condition caused by inherited traits that affect how your brain works. Dyslexia has been linked to certain genes that control how the brain develops. It appears to be an inherited condition — it tends to run in families. These inherited traits appear to affect parts of the brain concerned with language. However, most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program. They learn compensatory strategies to deal with their difficulties and can be quite successful with whatever they chose to do.  



This page last updated Wednesday, November 30, 2011