Connecting Bottom-Up and Subskills Phonics-First Reading Instructional Practices
Bottom-Up Theories of the Reading Process
- During reading and learning to read, language is processed from the parts to the whole, as in builiding a structure from blocks one at a time.
- Learning to read is based on stimulus-response chains posited by behaviorists.
- Learning to read is accomplished by reducing the skill of reading to its smallest parts to be mastered one at a time.
- Repetition in reading is focued on practicing the parts of the complex skill of reading to a level of overlearning or automaticity.
- Language stimuli for reading are carfully contolled to represent consistently identified language rules or patterns to be learned.
- Mastery of the smallest parts of reading is assumed to lead to competent understanding and performance of the whole act of reading.
- Automatic decoding of the smallest parts of language is a prerequisite to reading and comprehending connected texts or books.
- Correctness is expected; mistakes are to be corrected.
- Pronouncing words provides access to one's speaking vocabulary to enable comprehension.
- Comprehending words provides access to new vocabulary words and comprehension of text.
Subskills of Phonics-First Reading Instructional Practices
- Reading instruction is begun by learning the 26 letters and the 44 sounds.
- Instruction proceeds to demonstrate the association(s) between the 26 letters and the 44 sounds.
- Blending the sounds represented by the letters in a word from left to right in temporal sequence or "sounding out" phonically regualr words is taught.
- A limited number of high-frequency sight words are taught.
- Texts composed of carefully controlled words that are either known sight words or are phonically regualr words are introduced to children for reading practice.
- More phonic patterns, rules and generalizations are taught and learned.
- Texts are controlled to include new words as application for the patterns, rules, or generalizations learned.
- Control over text is gradually released, allowing phonically irregular words.
- Comprehending text is a direct outgrowth from the ability to pronounce words.
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