Reading words or learning to read? Part I

My daughter’s reading instruction at school has been frustrating this year. She is a fluent reader, but when you ask her what she has read. Her answer is sometimes, “I don’t know!” Her comprehension is not equal to her fluency level. Is this normal? Yes, she has been working on learning to read the words, and in that area she is doing well. Now her reading instruction should focus on reading comprehension.

So, why am I complaining? Reading fluency in the process of learning to read comes first. Then as the reader begins to read quickly enough for the words to flow comprehension occurs. However, there are many components needed to develop good reading skills some include decoding skills,  grammar knowledge,  vocabulary development, the ability to query,  visualization, and executive functioning skills such as self-evaluation to name a few.

In the 3rd grade, reading instruction should be daily, and you need both silent and group reading. In my daughter’s case, I was Wrong! Imagine my surprise when I learn that my daughters participated in a reading group only once a week and reads silently for a whopping 15 minutes. She reported that silent reading time was the only time she had to talk with her friends.  Not one book was completed this year during silent reading time.  Also, she read a different book every day.

Traditionally 3rd grade is the final year of direct reading instruction before students begin 4th grade. In 4th grade, the focus is reading to learn. I am not happy. I am concerned that with so little direct instruction, she will not acquire the skills she needs to be a confident reader. Does this sound familiar?
(To be continued)

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