Strategies for Scaffolding Reading Instruction

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  • 0:04 Scaffolding Reading
  • 1:34 Word Study
  • 2:03 Background Information
  • 2:41 Graphic Organizers
  • 3:11 Read Aloud & Small Groups
  • 4:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Marquis Grant
Ever heard the phrase 'reading is the gateway to all learning'? Reading is one of the areas targeted by most states for assessment because it not only is a critical area in academics, but also an area where most students were not showing gains. This lesson will highlight strategies to help struggling readers develop skills to be successful in the classroom.

Scaffolding Reading

Reading has been described as the central foundation for both learning and achievement. Difficulties with reading typically begin in the primary grades (K-3) and become more profound by the time a child reaches high school. Poor reading ability can significantly impact an individual throughout their life. No Child Left Behind prompted states to look into their methods and resources for teaching in order to close achievement gaps for all students.

Educators have debated for decades about the best way to teach reading. Scaffolding reading instruction models have been proven to work for children who have demonstrated difficulties in reading comprehension. It involves a variety of teaching methods depending on the needs of the students and available resources. The phrase itself originates with the image of physical scaffolding - supportive structures designed to assist in the construction of a building. Similarly, scaffolding reading instruction is a means by which teachers can support a student as they develop fundamental reading skills, one by one.

When teachers scaffold reading instruction, they break the reading activity down into smaller parts in order to facilitate comprehension. This can be done by focusing on context-based vocabulary, using graphic organizers, small group instruction, or by introducing background information. Once assistance in an area is no longer needed, the 'scaffolding,' or assistance, is removed, allowing the student to continue building more advanced skills on their own.

This lesson outlines some strategies used in scaffolding reading instruction.

Word Study

The importance of word study has long since been recognized as a required component when developing foundational reading skills. Further, explicit instruction also requires that the meanings of words be directly taught and practiced so that they are accessible when children are reading text. It is important to pre-teach unknown vocabulary prior to reading a selection. This will prevent students from stumbling over words they do not know or miss the overall meaning of a text because of an unfamiliar word.

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