Research-Based Instructional Strategies for Reading

Instructor: David Raudenbush
When teachers use research-based instructional strategies, students have the best chance to learn to read or improve their reading skills. Effective instructional strategies will include the key areas of word knowledge and comprehension.

Planning Reading Lessons

Let's pretend you are in your classroom. You have a story in front of you, maybe a classic tale like 'The Gift of the Magi' by O. Henry or something more recent like 'The Marble Champ' by Gary Soto. Your job is to build a reading lesson, or series of lessons, around the story. You need to decide on a set of instructional strategies that bolster your students reading skills, so they understand the story. Looking at research will help you pick the strategies that will best meet that goal.

A successful reading lesson utilizes research-based instruction.
Teacher and reader

Word Knowledge

Naturally, your students will struggle with any text if they have problems reading the words. In the primary grades, K-2, research points to phonics and phonemic awareness as keys to reading development.

Young readers need phonics to learn the connection between written letters and the sounds of spoken English. That's usually the starting point in a reader's schooling. Phonemic awareness is the ability to breakdown written words into their component sounds. As a teacher, when you ask your students to sound out a difficult word, that's phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness helps novice readers to separate words into syllables and meaningful sounds, known as phonemes. Research shows that phonemic awareness predicts how well students will succeed as readers. If they can't sound the words out, they will have problems.

Teaching word attack strategies will help students who struggle when they encounter new or unfamiliar words. The simplest and possibly most effective approach is to model chunking for your students. Show them how you break words down into smaller parts. Practice sounding out words with them. Teach them how to use familiar prefixes, roots and suffixes to figure out the meaning of words. You can use this word attack approach with any students, regardless of grade level, if they need them.

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