Phoneme, Phonics, And Sightwords as They Relate to Reading Acquisition
In Orangeburg Consolidated School District Three, there is a failure to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals, mostly in the content area of ELA on the state mandated test. Unfortunately, that failure is not unique to that particular school district. There are many school districts across the country that fail to meet AYP. Because of that, programs including SIPPS and Dibels have been introduced in various schools districts in an effort to help the students learn to perform better and to determine how students rank in their reading comprehension and readiness to read.
It has also been done in an effort to help teachers, many of whom are underpaid and overworked. In rural school districts there are more problems in schools because there are fewer efforts made by parents to help their children get an education. Since education is not seen as being that important, it is difficult for teachers to help children, many of whom come to school completely unprepared. Money is often a concern in these rural areas, and some children will not have any school supplies because their parents cannot pay for those supplies. Other students will not have supplies because parents do not place enough importance on education to purchase school supplies for their children. Many parents in these rural communities do not have a high school education or higher, and they do not see any reason for their children to get an education when they will spend their lives often doing rural, physical labor that does not require academic skill.
Because there are so many concerns in school districts where children are not making their AYP goals, it is clear that something must be done. Adding new and innovative ways to teach children to read is a good start, but how effective is it? That is something that remains to be seen. First, one must explore what the main problems are where the teaching of children is concerned. What are teachers facing, and how do they cope with the lack of interest in education and the lack of funds to do what they need to do to help children. Is the No Child Left Behind Act doing what it should to help teachers, or is it one more hurdle they must face when teaching children. Reading is a skill that must be taught early, and it is very hard for a child to "catch up" with peers once he or she gets far behind. Because of that, it is vital that children are helped sooner rather than later.
Student learning is vital to the success of those students in the future (Macmillan, 2002). While that is true overall, there are some highly significant areas where teachers have to be highly qualified and students have to make progress that is acceptable based on established standards. One such area is language literacy, and the assessment of that literacy (Macmillan, 2002). When one assesses the ability of students and how well they are reading, both children and parents should get involved to help those students who are struggling and having trouble with what they are supposed to be learning. Unfortunately, many parents leave everything up to the schools, and sometimes the schools are not able to do it all. When the schools fail because the children did not make AYP on their tests, it is often the teachers who are blamed (Macmillan, 2002).
The way that a child is assessed can sometimes allow children to slip through the cracks at various stages of education (Rappolt-Schlichtmann, Ayoub, & Gravel, 2009). Many children learn to read at an age that is very young, but for children who do not learn those skills education can be complex, difficult, and frustrating. In other words, many children's problems are not recognized until the child is already significantly behind his or her peers. At that point it becomes much more difficult for the child to catch up to where his or her peers are in terms of reading level. While schools, teachers, and the majority of parents agree that teaching children to read is highly important, some children still miss out on their most important skill (Rappolt-Schlichtmann, Ayoub, & Gravel, 2009).
There is a window of opportunity for children who are learning to read (Gillon, 2000). If a teacher does not get to the children during that time, and the children do not learn how to read properly, it can be almost impossible to work hard enough at a later date to reach a level that could have been otherwise reached (Immordino-Yang, 2009). In other words, if a child does not learn to read early, learning to read well at all will be in question. Children can and do learn to read at a later age. Even adults who are illiterate can learn to read. Unfortunately, a child who needs to get through his or her schooling and be successful at obtaining an education can have a much more difficult time with that education in general if he or she has not learned how to read properly at a very young age - the "right" age for a child to learn reading comprehension (Moustafa & Maldonado-Colon, 1999).
Children who display an interest in reading or pre-reading should be tested and encouraged (Moustafa & Maldonado-Colon, 1999). By determining if these children are ready to start reading, a teacher can offer them what they need to learn at a pace that will help them comprehend as much as possible in the window of time that makes the most sense for them. If they are ready to read they should be allowed to begin, because children are generally good at gauging when they are ready to do something. Testing children early for reading ability and comprehension can also pinpoint students that do not read well or are struggling for some reason (Walton, 2003).
By identifying these students, they can get the help that they need as early as possible. Children who slip through the cracks and are not helped at an early age will be the ones who continue to fall behind as they get older, since their reading skills will not be up to par with the reading skills of the other children in their classroom or age group (Walton, 2003). Even pre-reading skills are important. They are a relatively good indicator of how much interest a child has in learning to read. Pre-reading will also show if a child has the basic understanding of the necessary concepts so that he or she can begin to read and comprehend (Griffith & Olson, 1992; Walton, 2003).
There are several different procedures that are used for testing, and they all go along with both reading and pre-reading skills. Ideas about when these particular tests should be administered and which ones should be used differ greatly between experts, researchers, and teachers n (Solano-Flores & Trumbull, 2003). Some tests include things that other tests leave out, and that fosters concern that some tests are missing something and some tests are focused on areas that do not really need to be considered. For this reason and others, studies are conducted. The goal is to make a determination of which testing method is better and what kinds of learning programs are the best choice for children once they have been tested. Both testing and learning programs are highly valuable for helping teachers and students as they work together on language literacy and reading comprehension (Sodoro, Allinder, & Rankin-Erickson, 2002; Solano-Flores & Trumbull, 2003).
In order to determine how students should be learning and what kinds of programs should be used to teach them literacy, it is first necessary to determine where the children rank in their readiness to learn, their language literacy, and their reading comprehension (Anthony et al., 2002). Educational materials such as SIPPS help students learn phonetics and sight words. They teach students to read, and there are many levels through which a student can progress. Often, programs that are used to help students read are used once students have been tested and it has been determined that help is needed. One of the best tests in use today for reading and language literacy is the Dibels test.
Discussing this test as a basis for how testing for reading works is important, because it provides insight into how students are learning and the criteria on which they are tested. Many studies have been done in the past that have looked at the Dibels testing and how well it succeeds when it comes to the reading level of students. There are 10 specific points on the test, which looks for both reading readiness and reading problems (Tollefson, 2001). In other words, the test not only makes an effort to determine if the child is ready to read, but it is structured in such a way that catching problems early is possible. If problems are caught early, using a program…