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How Children's Books Facilitate Reading Development

Instructor: Sharon Linde
When learning to read, it's important for children to, well, read. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. The right book can make all the difference between a positive and frustrating experience. This lesson outlines how books help children learn to read and offers a guide to finding that perfect text.

The Role of Books in Reading

It seems pretty simple that children need books to learn to read. Not too long ago, teaching reading was mostly done without books. How did that work? Teachers and parents relied on tools such as flash cards, word lists and phonics workbooks to instruct. They thought that children first needed to know and understand the relationship between speech and letters, learn the basic sight words then move onto 'real' reading.

Luckily the pendulum has swung the other way. Teachers now understand that while children do indeed need direct instruction and a deep understanding of sound/symbol relationships, they also thrive as readers when they are given real books to read. Young, emergent readers rely on more than the words on the page to read a story, like pictures and page layout. In fact, using these other strategies to read are natural methods we all use to comprehend.

Ms. Thorn is an old-school teacher. Her new principal is requiring her to let go of some of her outdated methods and incorporate more books into her classroom. Ms. Thorn is reluctant, so the principal sends in Ms. Smith, the instructional coach, to help explain how children's books facilitate reading development in her little learners.

Children's Books & Reading Development

Ms. Smith starts off by reaffirming the importance of teaching phonics to support reading development. Students need to be able to decode, or sound out a word on the page. Without a solid and complete understanding of how letters and sounds work, children are much less likely to be successful readers. Ms. Thorn is definitely on the right track with her phonics instruction.

Ms. Smith goes on to tell Ms. Thorn about the importance of blending in children's books with her phonics program by telling her:

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