To learn to read technically and comprehensively, children benefit from systematic and integrated instruction. They need it for developing phonological awareness (of sounds in words), learning letter-sound couplings, and mastering spelling patterns. Systematic and integrated instruction is also important for vocabulary growth and learning to use reading and comprehension strategies flexibly.
Reading comprehension and writing for children
In reading comprehension, children also benefit from authentic texts, which they experience as interesting and appealing. In addition, interactions with other children help them to process what they have read. The combination of good instruction and motivating texts increases the chance that children will grow into proficient readers.
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The context in which reading materials are offered is crucial. 6% to 26% of the differences in performance are explained by the teacher and the atmosphere in the classroom. An expert teacher not only provides high quality instruction, but also provides structured lessons and is able to differentiate to individual students.
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He/she also demonstrates how to read a text (‘modeling’), seeks interaction about read texts, and allows students to collaborate among themselves on reading tasks. The more support (15-year-old) students receive from the teacher, and the more enthusiastic the teacher is, the higher the reading performance. In addition, students with an enthusiastic teacher also experience more reading pleasure
- An expert teacher succeeds in establishing meaningful relationships with students. Children with a good initial level in language, improve when the relationship with the teacher is good. A less good language level deteriorates when the relationship with the teacher is poor.
- Part of the explanation lies in the involvement of students in their learning process. Thanks to a warm, close relationship, students become more involved, which improves their performance in language and reading. With a negative relationship, the opposite is true. This spiral, in which student-teacher relationships, engagement in learning, and performance mutually reinforce each other, applies to both elementary and secondary students