In my work with schools, I have noticed a number of hallmarks of successful reading programmes for kids.
Some of these hallmarks are evident in the programmes discussed in this book, and others are not.
Here are the hallmarks that I have identified:
a) The programme focuses on improving reading fluency (the speed at which a child reads text accurately and automatically).
Fluency is key to building comprehension and becoming a successful reader. Fluency is also the main area where most teachers report that their students need to improve.
b) The programme teaches reading through systematic instruction.
It provides explicit teaching on how to decode (i.e., sound out). Or words using decoding strategies (e.g., blending, segmenting, looking for clues in spelling patterns).
Also, how to read fluently by focusing on using good pronunciation and smoothness of speech as well as smoothness of text delivery.
c) The programme has children read lots of different types of text including stories, informational text, and poems.
This provides children with lots of opportunities to practise reading in a variety of contexts.
d) The programme includes many types of exercises to improve fluency and reading accuracy (e.g., choral reading, speed reading, summarising, oral reading, etc.).
These exercises allow children to practise the skills they have learned through systematic instruction.
In conclusion, systematic, explicit, and fun programmes for kids that focus on reading fluency are the best way to improve reading skills.
I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to learn from the best in the field and use this knowledge to create a systematic programme for kids called Rocket Reader. I hope you find it useful!
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