This section tests your knowledge of common spelling patterns, sight words, blending sounds, and teaching students to interpret words in text form. It will also assess how well you are able to determine the literacy of individual students. During this section, you will also be asked questions about teaching fluency.
Let’s look at some concepts that are guaranteed to come up on the test.
Automaticity, or automatic word recognition, refers to the skill of being able to quickly and accurately recognize written words, but does not refer to reading with expression. Automaticity is NOT the same skill as fluency. Automaticity is a necessary skill to be a fluent reader, but it is not the only skill needed to read fluently. Automaticity is built by repeated practice identifying words, and is essential for reading success. When children are learning to read, they might read accurately, but slowly. A student needs to recognize words automatically and rapidly to be a successful reader.
Decoding versus Encoding
Decoding and encoding are total opposites, yet they’re just like two peas in a pod. Decoding refers to the process of reading – translating words into sounds and ideas. Encoding refers to building words with sounds.
Both skills are crucial for literacy; students who are proficient in English can both read and write. When you think of decoding, just think of breaking a code. After all, that’s what reading is – breaking the code of letters and their patterns. When you think of encoding, you know that it refers to the skill of writing.
Over time, readers will hone their skills of decoding and encoding. Repetitively reading the same text is a great way to have students sharpen their decoding skills. Directing students to write a word multiple times is a strategy to help them to build their encoding skills.
Reading fluency develops over time and through a lot of practice. Readers in the earliest stages of reading development will read slowly and their reading will sound very labored because these students are still learning basic decoding skills. As students practice, they begin to assign and blend letter sounds more quickly into words which is when fluency begins to develop.
Fluency has three components:
- Accuracy- reading words correctly.
- Automaticity- recognizing words automatically and rapidly.
- Prosody- using the appropriate expression when reading and not sounding robotic. Prosody also includes reading punctuation correctly, such as pausing for a comma, period, and inflecting for exclamation and question marks.
A reader needs all three of these skills, and the ability to use them effectively to be considered a fluent reader. A child has to be able to decode quickly (automaticity) so that he/she can read fluently with accuracy, automaticity, AND prosody. With out automaticity and fluency, and child can not comprehend what he/she is reading. Fluent readers are able to focus the majority of their energy on the content rather than spending most of their energy simply decoding words. If children are not fluent in their reading, their reading progress is hindered, and they begin to get frustrated with reading.
Strategies to promote fluency include:
- Model fluent reading.
- Have students read while following along with an audio book.
- Practice sight words using games like bingo.
- Practice paired or buddy reading where students read to a partner while the partner follows along, then roles switch.
- Practice choral reading where a whole group or class reads the same thing aloud at the same time. The teacher sets the pace.
- Give students many opportunities to read on their own at their independent reading level.
- Repeated reading
- Give students time to read and re-read the same text.
- Have students read orally in a small group with the opportunity to correct and guide if necessary.
Common Word Patterns
Word patterns are predictable patterns of sounds (consonants and vowels) that form words.
CVC- A consonant is followed by a vowel and another consonant to create a syllable, usually with a short vowel sound (bed, pin, rug).
CVCC- Here you have words that end with two consonants (fast, card, ding).
CVVC- This pattern of words has two vowels between consonants that create one or two sounds (door, hair, read).
CVCe- Same as above, but a silent e is found at the end of the word. This usually makes the vowel of the word long (hole, code, bone).
Understanding word patterns strengthens a child’s phonological and phonemic awareness which, in turn, strengthens a child’s reading fluency.
Here are some strategies for helping students decode words that follow common patterns:
- Listen for sounds in words.
- Play “I Spy”- Pick an item in the room and say, “I spy a h-a-t.” Students will need to blend the sounds to figure out the object.
- Make a word wall chart for each pattern and as words are introduced talk about the pattern and add them to the wall.
- Play bingo with words from different patterns. For example if you’re working on CVC words, you would play a bingo game with CVC words.