The five major components of reading are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. According to the Reading Rockets web site (2013), "When using any teaching strategy, teachers should (1) help students to understand why a strategy is useful, and (2) describe explicitly how the strategy should be used. Teacher demonstration, modeling, and follow-up independent practice are critical factors for success. Student discussion following strategy instruction is also helpful." These components are interrelated because you just cannot have one without the other. When a student become proficient in these areas they become successful readers.
Phonemic awareness is when students identify sounds and are able to utilize those sounds to make words. Today during my PLC meeting with PreK I showed them how to use elkonin or sound boxes. These are simple boxes on a piece of paper usually accompanying an illustration.There is a box for each phoneme--not for ea. letter. The students push a counter up into the boxes as they say the sound. Here is an illustration of one I found on Google Images:
This is a quick and easy activity that would be good to introduce during small group and then put at a literacy center.
Phonics is when students identify letter sounds and the letter itself. Making words with magnetic letters or using poetry or alphabet chants are easy ways to practice phonics.
Fluency starts with letter sounds, moving to sight words and then onto reading text. You are considered fluent if you can automatically do it. A great fluency activity isthe A/B partner reading. I am such a fan of this technique! During guided reading, I have them read with a partner. They sit EEKK! style--elbow to elbow, and knee to knee. Both children have the same text. One child reads while the other follows along. The reader asks the follower a question related to the story to make sure the follower was listening.
Vocabulary is fundamental to reading. Vocabulary words help us to build background knowledge and associations of words in order to communicate effectively. While reading an article by Ruddell and Shearer (2002), a students says, "I used to only think about vocabulary in school. The whole world is vocabulary." That statement resonates with me because we must have the foundation of vocabulary in order to be successful readers and writers. A wonderful way to tie vocabulary into a lesson is to keep index cards or sentence strips with a Sharpie nearby and as the class learns vocabulary in a whole group setting, add the word to the word wall, and question them about its definition.
Comprehension is when students make meaning and connections from the text. To help with comprehension graphic organizers, especially that compare and contrast two different texts, are easy to implement to help with this area.
Reading Rockets.Org. (2013)Classroom strategies. Accessed on January 30, 2013 from: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/ . Ruddell, M.& Brenda A. (2002). Extraordinary," "tremendous," "exhilarating," "magnificent": middle school at-risk students become avid word learners with the Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS): asking students to choose their own vocabulary words maintains interest and builds connections with content areas. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 45(5).