Simple View of Reading

Both word recognition and language comprehension are necessary to achieve fluent reading.

By Julia Hewerdine

Learning to read –Converted To–   Reading to Learn for purpose and pleasure

Simple View of Reading Graph:

It was adopted by the Rose Report in 2009 and forms a central part of the Primary National Strategy’s view of literacy learning. But it is not a recent idea. In the 1980s, when the ‘reading wars’ raged, this equation was put forward as an attempt to reconcile the two opposing camps of early literacy teaching – the Whole Language or ‘Real Books’ approach on the one hand and the Phonics view on the other These two approaches are often represented as ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’.

It is important that we understand how these two sets of skills develop as each requires a different kind of teaching. Once learners can recognise and understand words they then need to activate their listening skills to understand what the author is trying to convey. Speaking and listening skills underpin good comprehension. Learners with poor oral comprehension will obviously have weak reading comprehension skills

Once learners are fluent and accurate decoders of words, then they are more able to concentrate on the meaning of the text, that is the high ground of reading. 

Learners need both good phonics and good comprehension:

If Dyslexics can’t read words they will obviously be denied access to the text – but conversely, even if learners can read the words they still might not understand the text, this is sometimes called barking at the print.

The implications of the simple view of reading:

We need a systematic phonics curriculum as well as a broad and rich language curriculum to develop both skills. We ensure we are clear about which one we are focusing on in our discrete teaching of reading.

Remember:

·        The development of language comprehension is on-going throughout life

·        Secure decoding enables learners to access understanding.

·        High quality phonic work should be the key approach when teaching beginning readers

·        The initial focus has to be to develop automaticity in word reading

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