Learn to Read Debates

Learn to Read

There is a lot of talk about in relation to “how” and “when” to teach children to read these days. Some children learn to read “naturally” but most need to be directly taught how to read as our brains are not wired to learn this skill on its own. The pendulum in education keeps swinging back and forth in HOW to teach children to read at school regarding phonics instruction for decoding and language and story immersion for comprehension. Another debate in reading instruction is WHEN to teach children to read as countries all over the world instruct in reading at differing ages with differing focus and methods.

At Windsor Hill we see benefits in both direct phonics instruction at appropriate stages of development, combined with enriching experiences with books and language that develop a motivation and eagerness to engage with reading in meaningful ways across all parts of our lives as humans. This blog post presents an article from the BBC in the UK delineating some of the history and varied approaches to teaching reading with a glance at research and outcomes in various geographical areas of the world and with various methods and schooling experiences. It is an interesting read presenting thoughts and research on the two opposing approaches causing a large debate in education in the US these days.

At Windsor Hill, we pride ourselves in keeping the learning to read pendulum balanced for children as they learn at school with us. We believe that learning to read and how we feel about reading should be taught in a way that is integrated into an developmentally appropriate environment for young children so that they can acquire strong foundations in social and emotional skills, content knowledge, and vocabulary alongside the ability to decode words in texts.

We are committed to teach our children to read at Windsor Hill. We find that different children need differing degrees of exposure and instruction in the learning to read process and we are grateful for our small size to be able to personalize our learning to read instruction for students. YES we teach phonics and instruct directly in phonological awareness, printed letters and patterns, and specific word work to develop strong decoding skills to all children. AND YES, we expose students to great literature, amazing informational books to learn about the world, engaging experiences connected to reading, and everyday reasons to pick up books (yes, 3-dimensional books in their hands with an occasional on-line reading experience) and engage their brains and “grow” them by getting lost in the world, in space, and in their imaginations.

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