Reading with Space ☆

| September 14, 2010

When literacy tests only consider a student’s ability to read text, they can ignore the different ways of learning, knowing, and making meaning that we all have. TC Reading & Math Buddies are encouraged to help students decode books on a variety of levels. Working with picture books, for example, allows discussion of space, line, shape, tone, depth, and color. By including elements of pure visual understanding, we can help readers make sense of a book based on more than just an ability to recognize letters and words.

In our practice, we try to remove the pressures associated with decoding pure text. Once we remember that literacy is more than reading aloud, children that we thought were struggling readers become remarkably literate. Everyone uses guides to help them understand what they are reading, and to predict what will happen next. Expanding the use of those guides allows students to apply their natural imagination to the visual cues on the page. They can become caught up in the story and invested in the characters.

Reading & Math Buddies suggest pre-reading books for reasons besides “leveling.” Look for more than the number of sight-words, number-words, or compound words. Reading assessments can easily focus on those bits of student work that are adapted to checklists. Instead, consider that the greatest reward of reading is not recognizing every word, but piecing together where the story has been, and guessing at where the story is going.