Glance and Guess — Really?

Carla McNeil

Let’s just STOP and take some time to consider how we truly teach reading in New Zealand. If a student is having difficulty with learning to read, you the teacher are obligated to reconsider your approach. A whole word approach which encourages students to glance and guess, memorising words from day 1 is not suitable for all. Taking students to print before they have phonological awareness intact will leave them with no other option but to glance and guess. Sending a reader home and saying this is what parents expect is a copout. You are the reading specialist in the parents’ mind. Why not change the landscape and consider taking the time to educate parents about preparing their child to become reading ready, or simply stick with the alternative below……

Let’s consider a quick stocktake of your practice. My purpose here is to disrupt your thinking and have you consider that it is not ok to do the things you do just because you always have.

  1. Do you give a book to your brand new 5 year olds on their first day of school? Why do you do this? How do you know they are ready to move to the Alphabetic Principle stage of the reading process?
  2. Do you have a series of Decodable texts in your reading room for use with students who you are building fluency and reading success with? I suspect the answer here is “No — what are you talking about Carla.”

It is crucial that all schools have a range of readers, including decodable texts which enable you to implement a structured literacy approach for your struggling readers. https://www.learningmatters.co.nz/shop/

I encourage you to consider what you are doing on a daily basis at a leadership, classroom and community level to ensure the approach which is implemented in your context is based on research in relation to developing the Reading Brain. It’s at your fingertips. What are you waiting for?

Think you may need some guidance here? Would you like to find out more about the use of decodable texts for your struggling readers? Email me to find out how we can work alongside you with this.

We also have an array of workshops that are designed to help you through, you can register here, or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates.

Carla is the Founder and Director of Learning MATTERS Ltd. Carla has been a successful school Principal, Mathematics Advisor and Classroom teacher.

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