Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 1, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, October 1, 1971 More attention paid to reading DR. RAY STEWART, Associate Professor, Faculty Education University of Lethhridgc There are many encouraging signs when one at reading in the schools of today. This is not to say there ere not many problems remaining in the field of rending instruction but at least there are indications at all levels, that thoughtful ex- amination is being given to the whole issue of reading ability and its significance in our time. Frst of all, primary teachers are learning to regard, more than ever before, the import- ance of understanding each child as an individual with be- havior and learning character- istics in some ways unique. Much thought is being direct- ed to the matter of school fail- ure and it is being realized that, in large measure, the problem of the teenage drop- out, or of delinquent, origi- nates in his early school ex- periences. Where the school begins read- ing instruction too soon with a child, or iises teaching methods and materials not appropriate for him as an individual at that time in his development, then his first adventures in for- mal learning are failure exper- iences. His self-image is marred, he begins to perceive himself as a "stupid" person who can't "catch on" as others do and he remains "tarned-ofC" in his at- titude toward the learning situ- ations that the school provides for him, unless he has the good fortune to meet an unusually parceptive remedial teacher who identifies the problem, then finds ingenious ways of improv- ing both his attitude and his performance. TITE FIRST YEAR Thus, when educational ad- ministrators seem to pay dis- proportionate tribute to the teacher of school beginners, let us realize again that in the first year children's perception of themselves as learners and their attitude toward the school is set very firmly, and is usual- ly difficult to modify. With a new realization of their long- term importance in the life of the child, primary teachers of today are often taking a criti- cal look at the whole issue of "reading readiness." They are becoming increas- ingly aware of the differences in children's "learning and of the variety of teaching methods and materials now available for primary children. Another encouraging sign in reading is the improving aware- ness of teachers in the upper elementary grades that reading is not something which is taught almost exclusively in the first three grades and then used for learning beyond that level. It is being recognized that the fundamental skills learned in the primary grades are not adequate for the greatly in- creased reading responsibility thrust upon children in the in- termediate grades. Teachers in these grades are realizing more and more that the basic prim- ary reading skills need much expansion and refinement as children move into a period where new d em ands, for ex- ample, in Social Studies and Science reading enter the cur- riculum. It is encouraging to observe that in reading workshops, and conferences Can adian interme- diate grade teachers are meet- ing to discuss such topics as "Reading in the Content indicating thai they are becoming really concerned about children being efficient readers when they study text- books presenting Social Studies or Science information. BEEN RELUCTANT The secondary schools (both junior and senior high schools have traditionally been reluc- tant to acknowledge any re- sponsibility for the reading competence of their students. It has frequently been implied To be more successful Your child will be more suc- cessful in school if he is well- developed physically. As par- ents you can do much to cor- rect defects, build muscles and increase co-ordination: 1. Make sure that your child has normal sight and hearing. 2. Encourage the baby to crawl and pull himself up on things when lie is ready. Climb- ing steps is very helpful. 3. Let; him play with a va- riety of shapes and and pans are fun. 4. Encourage the voung child to run, hop, skip, jump, trot, gallop, climb and slide. Let him crawl through various spaces, under chairs, behind ilie sofa. 5. Let him play with things that develop his finger muscles blunt-nosed scissors and paste, spools and clothes- pins. 6. Encourage him to keep time to music around the home. 7. Encourage the child to do every! hing for himself that he is able to do. Remember that good food and plenty of rest build muscles, too. Exercise in the fresh air is important all through childhood. by secondary teachers, if not expressed, that teaching read- ing is the domain of the ele- mentary schools. In elementary schools you learn to read, in secondary schools you read to learn." The fallacy of this viewpoint, of course, is that no elementary school rending courses can pre- pare students adequately for the reading demands of the sec- ondary schools in literature, the social studies, the sciences and mathematics. Thus, reading be- comes an educational require- ment which must be properly recognized at all levels in pub- lic education. The attitude often reflected among secondary teachers, 'Tin a science teacher, don't expect me to know anything about cannot be ac- cepted. Since many studies show that secondary students often fail courses, become drop- outs and sometimes gravitate into delinquency because they cannot read adequately, then reading, to some degree, is everyone's responsibility in the schools. The support of every teacher and administrator is critically important. However, the tone in Canadian secondary schools in this respect is improving noticeably and reading work- shops for junior and senior high school teachers in various subject areas are not the rarity they once were. Likewise, on university cam- pur-es rending improvement courses ure often being provid- ed to assist otherwise able stu- dents who are foundering be- cause of deficiencies in their reading skills. All these indications, then provide encouragement to par- ents who are concerned that their children succeed at each level of their education. Of course, the efforts now being made will not succeed without public interest and without the support of community members possessing strong convictions about the imnortancc of read- ing in education and citizen- ship. At the University of Leth- bridge, the Faculty of Educa- tion has adopted a policy which many universities have discuss- ed but seldom implemented. All prospective teachers are re- quired to study a basic course in the teaching of reading. Additional courses are offered for those who wish to acquire a more technical knowledge of the reading process, r e a d ing methods and reading programs. The reading personnel at the University, Dr. Dorothy Lampard and Dr. Ray Stewart also provide consultative assis- tance on rending programs to teachers and administrators of Southern Alberta schools. '-r Cracking the reading code at St. Paul's School. Effective reading program outlined Snippets from 'A Rending Handbook.' department of edu- cation. Edmonton. An effective reading pro- gram: 1. Is continuous and develop- mental. 2. Organizes material and methods in a sequential pat- tern. 3. Is flexible. 4. Adjusts material and in- struction to meet a child's need. 5. Provides experimental background. 6. Promotes social adjust- ment and emotional stability. Children's interests in stories by type: Ages 6-7: Animals, children, familiar experiences.' fancif. u I ajid fairy tales Ages 8-9: Realistic S'ories. animal stories, home and school, children in other lands, adventure. Ages 10-11: Adventure, ac- tion, excitement, suspense, mys- tery. humor, sport cm nns h i p, children, animal life and na- ture. Ages 32-15: Broader Interests as history, biography, adven- ture, hobbies, fie'ion and mys- tery of a more sensational type. Some Guides for Teaching Slow Learners: 1. Detailed explanations are necessary. 2. The multi sensory ap- proach is recommenced. 3. Much meaningful repeti- tion is required. 4. Much extension reading is desirable. 5. R e ad i n g assignments should be short. Assign m e n t s should be checked immediately. The above short capsules of direction are intended for teachers, bui most intelligent parents can benefit from tlie advice contained therein. Provided all thines are equal, cracking the reading code for a child is achieved by com- bining efforts at home and in tho school. Parents ought to check with tire teacher not later than the Christmas after the little one starts schoo'. To find out later, or to delay tlie inquiry may result in permanent d'amage being done, or presenting the child with a great handicap to be overcome in the next year, or tlie second grade.