Review: Reading Horizon – What is Important in Teaching Struggling Readers

by Rich on September 11, 2012 · 0 comments

Could it be that the smallest changes are often the biggest helps when it comes to helping struggling readers? According to an article by Angela from Reading Horizon’s Happenings, that could be the answer. This article from Reading Horizon’s Happenings highlights a video from Teacher Trainer Shantell Berrett where she explains an effective process for teaching struggling readers.

What Shantell Berrett Believes is the Answer to Helping Struggling Readers

Watching a video by Berrett that was embedded into the article was helpful in truly understanding what is most effective in helping readers that are struggling. The article touches on Berrett’s main points, as she breaks down what it takes to present to a reader properly including:

  • Letter instruction
  • Blend instruction
  • Phonetic skills
  • And decoding skills

This is an interesting article because it teaches readers how to read by breaking down different aspects of reading into a structured process. Starting with letter instruction, Berrett starts from the ground up by encouraging teachers to always start by teaching the upper case and lower case forms of each letter, name of each letter, and how it sounds. Starting with the most basic steps, from writing the letter, to putting it into slides where you can see both the upper case and lower case together and an arrow below, and then putting that letter into a word.

Berrett then moves onto blend instruction, but keeps the process the same. The blend instruction is the second step that teaches readers how they can easily begin to take letters and blend them together to start forming more words. Berrett makes a strong statement during the video which simplifies everything for parents and teachers.

Good teaching is far more about the process than it is about the content.”

What Does Shantell Berrett Mean by Phonetic and Decoding Skills?

The article was full of detail, but some of it is hard to understand if you aren’t doing the teaching! Simply put, phonetics is the teaching of how to pronounce words, and it’s an important skill in teaching beginning and struggling readers. Berrett teaches that we cannot assume that readers will pronounce words correctly just because of the order of the letters. Berrett mentions using the process she uses to teach in all of these steps to help readers understand how to pronounce the words correctly.

Again, her teaching is all about the process and in each step whether it’s letter instruction, blending, phonetics or decoding, that process is repeated to achieve success. Phonetics and decoding skills go hand in hand, and that is because phonetics is the pronunciation, while decoding simply means the process by which they are able to break down the word in order to pronounce it.

We found this article to be both interesting and helpful simply because structure is what seems to help most struggling readers overcome their challenge. Check back here soon to find more helpful articles with information for your struggling reader!

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