What professionals talk about reading, the two words that most often come up are "phonological awareness" and "decoding."
Phonological awareness is the ability to identify the different sounds for letter and then associate sounds with written words. It is the basis of reading. A reader also needs to be able to put sounds together to make words. For example, if you know how to read "cat" and see "bat," you should realize that the "at" sound is being used again. There are 44 separate sounds (phonemes) in English. "Cat" contains three of them--the hard cee, the short a and the tee.
Decoding is the ability to quickly and accurately join sounds to make words and join smaller words to make bigger words. For example, you should be able to read "seesaw" if you know the words "see" and "saw."
In brief, children with reading disabilities have difficulty relating letters and words to their sounds and vice versa. They generally need more one-on-one help than their peers to develop phonological awareness and decoding skills. As many as one in 20 children has some sort of reading challenge, including dyslexia.
The US Department of Education recommends universal screening to find children at risk for reading disabilities. "In both research and practice, [testing] usually involves measures of early literacy and foundational reading skills, including phonemic awareness, letter naming fluency, concepts about print, word reading, and oral language ability, including vocabulary."
The programs that we use at Windy Row Learning Center in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, are grounded in phonological awareness and decoding. We give children techniques to help their eyes and ears work together. Step by patient step, we give children the tools to be successful readers.
The children who come to Windy Row vary in age from kindergarteners to 10th graders. They are all struggling to keep up with their peers in reading and some of them are 1, 2 or more years behind in reading. Because our tutors are specially trained, they use teaching techniques that are developmentally appropriate; they take into account the age of each child so that the child is always engaged in the lessons.
Do you know a child who is struggling to read? Please give us a call today.