I spent the entire day in a LETRS class (Learning Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). I learned a lot and will share pieces over the next few days.
These are the non-negotiable skills students need in order to read:
* Phonemic Awareness: awareness and manipulation of speech sounds
* Phonics: letter/sound correspondences for decoding
* Advanced decoding skill instruction: word analysis skills beyond one syllable words
* Fluency: in decoding and contextual reading
* Sight word memory for irregular words
* Strong oral language background
* Vocabulary knowledge: word conciousness
* Background knowledge: use of accurate, rich background knowledge to help construct meaning
* Meta-cognitive strategies to adjust comprehension as you read
* Motivation: to pursue increased skills and comprehension
Fluency is the bridge to comprehension. Fluency is not the rate of reading--it is being able to read for comprehension.
Schools should have a core reading program, based on scientifically-based reading research (SBRR). For students who are not able to learn with the core reading program, an intervention curriculum should address atypical student needs (e.g. students needing auditory learning or phonemic awareness). A third level of intervention may also be necessary. Students should not be considered "special ed" simply because they don't learn to read with the core reading program or an intervention program. Each segment of learning to read should be firmly established with repetition before moving to the next skill. For some students, this takes additional repetitions.