When a child knows a word they don’t have to sound it out, they just know what it is by visually seeing it. These known words are highly individualized to each person’s experience, exposure, and interests. They are something we pick up organically from the world around us. A child with a 200 to 400 sight-word mental vocabulary list can start to read independently. In fact it is these sizable mental lists that allow for a child to be successful in the reading process.
Comprehension influences access to the mechanical reading process. It is something that we need to teach early on in order to create active, fluent readers. Comprehension strategies of connecting reading material to oneself, the world around us, and to other texts allow us to deepen the reading process and make meaning of the printed material. Predicting, questioning what we read, summarizing, inferring, and evaluating are also important aspects of the reading process that need to be addressed early on. Building a large personal high frequency word list, actively studying word patterns, clay-based work, and teaching non-phonetic reading strategies, such as, spell-read, sweep-reading, and picture-at-punctuation, should also be included in a well-rounded approach when teaching reading to all types of learners. It is these very strategies that we use for gifted learners that can benefit and meet every student’s and child’s needs.
Routinely reading is taught only phonetically. For highly visual and dyslexic learners this can be a challenge, especially for children who learn visually rather than phonetically. There are multiple layers that go beyond phonetics: high frequency words, word patterns, and most importantly, meaning. Reading really is thinking, and as a child becomes a mature reader their focus on the mechanics lessens, while their understanding of the content deepens.
As fluent readers, adults tend to forget to take the time to explain the generalized rules of print, such as punctuation and capitalization. I believe it’s vital that in this same way we teach reading in an all-encompassing capacity, so that children can access the written language fully.
In my years as an educator I have specialized in homeschooling and working one-on-one with students who struggle. Over the years I developed a unique non-phonetic based reading program for highly visual and dyslexic learners and soon realized it could help all children meet their academic goals. I started applying this technique with my students with great success and want to share it with you and your family. Reading is such a gift. No child should ever be left behind.