The ability to read, and read well, opens up doors academically, professionally, and personally. We know that learning to read is not a natural process, yet watching a child fluently read a book he or she loves is nothing short of a work of art. Fortunately, how children learn to read, and best practices for teaching reading, are some of the most studied aspects of human learning. The science of reading has established that there are critical elements of reading instruction that when delivered in a systematic and explicit manner, result in reading proficiency (Vaughn, 2020).
Graphic based on H.S. Scarborough’s Rope Model of Reading. (2001)
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“My favorite memory is with Geovanni—a first grader who came to me and couldn't recognize the letter ’G.’ By providing him a lot of individualized instruction—along with showing him that school was a safe place to be—he left me reading on a second grade level. ’La Pelota de beísbol’ is a leveled reader I will keep forever, as it is the book where he really started reading!”
“As a reading specialist in a K-5 school, I often dealt with students who struggled with learning to read. Invariably, they thought the fault was theirs—and they were always mistaken. Finding the place on the continuum of reading skills where an extra bit of instruction gave a needed boost or a new slant geared to a specific learning style made all the difference was what brought me great joy.”
“My favorite memory is when Mitch, one of my first-grade students, made the transition from reading words with short vowels to reading words with long vowels. He was very proud of himself, and said triumphantly, ‘Now I'm ready to read words with even longer vowels!’”
“My passion for teaching literacy is simple: being literate leads to livelihood. As a teacher, I always taught my students the power of literacy beyond needing that ability to pass a test. Over the school year, I was mindful to make literacy be a tool that will forever be vital, that constantly needs sharpening, and is never unimportant.”
“My most memorable teaching experience is reading The House on Mango Street with my 7th graders. For most of them, it was the first time they read a text that reflected their cultural backgrounds. The thoughtful discussions and insightful writing that resulted from this connection concretized my love for teaching literacy.”
“I’ll never forget teaching with Judy Blume’s novel Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. My students would burst out laughing as if they were watching a comedy film, but this laughter was special because it came from reading a book. The ability to read opens so many doors—for academic success, for exploring interests, and for plain ol’ fun.”
“As an educator, helping students learn how to read is extremely rewarding. When you play a part in kids developing a love of reading, and using that love to explore their world, their interests, and their imaginations, you are forever changed.”
“Literacy is a way to see and experience people, places, and events that we otherwise may never experience. It opens imaginations to amazement, wonder, and the unimaginable. It is a great equalizer.”
“Literacy is the key to unlocking the world. I love that my work helps open the world for children.”