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Tips for Effectively Teaching Reading

Teaching reading is both an art and a science. Teachers everywhere understand the art aspect: you must watch children and know when to put the right book in the right hands or teach the right strategy at the right time. The science aspect involves learning effective teaching strategies to build literacy development throughout the year. In order for students to read well, they must be able to do the following:

  • Understand letter sounds and use them to read and spell words.
  • Practice reading enough to become fluent readers.
  • Learn new vocabulary words.
  • Learn to self-monitor when reading for comprehension and errors.

What Are Some Effective Teaching Strategies?

There are many effective teaching strategies available, but how can a teacher know which will work the best? Research shows that there are five basic effective teaching strategies that are imperative in the classroom:

  1. Teachers must present the purpose and learning goals of an assignment very clearly.
  2. Teachers need to encourage class discussion.
  3. Students need consistent feedback on their work and participation.
  4. Students need formative assessments throughout the process.
  5. Teachers need to give students opportunities to plan and organize, monitor their own work, direct their own learning, and self-reflect.

When students engage in class discussions and reflection, it enhances their literacy development.

How to Make Sure Students Are Actively Engaged in Reading

When students consistently miss the point of the text they are reading, they need cognitive-thinking strategies to help them read actively. Teachers need to understand how their students’ brains work in regard to literacy development.

The skills students need to start thinking about their reading include activating prior knowledge, inferring, monitoring understanding, questioning, summarizing and visualizing. Teachers will have great success when they encourage their students to read more deeply and fully.

Making Sure You Reach Every Child

Differentiated instruction for each child is critical. Some effective teaching strategies for differentiating your reading instruction include the following:

  • Model fluent reading.
  • Repeat readings to help students read more closely.
  • Promote phrased reading where students read groups of words.
  • Use tutors to help meet children’s daily needs.
  • Use reader’s theater to promote fluent reading.

The reading process uses a combination of reading and cognitive skills. It is not enough for students to know how to read letters and combinations of letters. To truly ensure literacy development in a classroom, teachers must use a combination of effective teaching strategies to help meet each student’s particular needs.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online M.Ed. in literacy studies.


RTI Action Network: Classroom Reading Instruction That Supports Struggling Readers

Edutopia: 5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices

AdLit: Teach the Seven Strategies of Highly Effective Readers

Scholastic: 5 Surefire Strategies for Developing Reading Fluency

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