Good readers not only decode and understand words as they read, but are also able to focus on more important task in reading—interpretation and comprehension. However such purposeful reading is a complex process and it does not happen automatically; rather it is learned gradually.
To make kids good learners, it is important to develop their reading skills to a point from where they can make the shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Automaticity helps make that shift possible.
Automaticity is the ability to do something without conscious thought. When we do something automatically, the mind isn’t occupied with the small details of the task and hence we can use our brain power to do more. In reading, automaticity ensures that readers need less energy to decipher individual words in the text, so that more is available for comprehension.
For children, achieving automaticity in reading is essential to become effective readers as well as all-around learners. So how can we nurture automatic word processing in them? The answer is—through practice.
Wide reading practice
Wide reading involves reading one text and then moving onto another. It is intended not only to strengthen reading abilities, but also to enhance academic background knowledge.
Repeated reading involves reading the same text over and over again until the reader achieves accuracy and automaticity. This strategy helps kids develop fluency and comprehension while reading.
Intentional word study
In this form of practice, children are provided with a variety of instructions to draw their attention to particular words or word constructions. This concept is found in the phonics, vocabulary, and spelling portions instructions. For example, Vocab Tunes’ music-based program makes kids enhance English vocabulary while learning about root words, prefixes, and suffixes.
Quick and easy comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. Automaticity enables kids to increase their reading speed, improve comprehension, and make them better readers.
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