Chapter 7 Reading Wright, W. E. (2010). Foundations for Teaching

Strategies for teaching concepts of print

Teaching Strategies / January 6, 2017

Coined by New Zealand educator Marie Clay, concepts about print (CAP) refers to what emergent readers need to understand about how printed language works and how it represents language. Successful beginning readers develop concepts about print at an early age, building on emergent literacy that starts before formal schooling.

  • Print carries a message. Even when a child "play reads" text using pictures and memory, the child demonstrates an understanding of this concept, even if she cannot read the words, or reads them backwards or front to back.
  • Books are organized, with a cover, title, and author, and reading in English flows in a particular and consistent direction, left to right and top to bottom. When young students successfully point to or otherwise track the print as someone reads aloud, they demonstrate their understanding of orientation and directionality.
  • Printed language consists of letters, words, and sentences. The emergent reader gradually learns to distinguish between these forms, learns the concepts of "beginning" and "end, " and understands punctuation that marks text (e.g., period, comma, and question mark).
  • Recognition of matching or upper- and lower-case letters, as well as some common spelling sequences, are slightly more complex concepts of print mastered by more experienced beginning readers.

Concepts about print can be taught using shared reading of Big Books, enlarged charts and poems, or other kinds of engaging texts. It can also be taught through interactive writing, language experience dictations, or exploring print in the classroom environment.

Many teachers use Clay's Concepts About Print assessment tool in late kindergarten or beginning first grade to assess students' concepts about print.

Used by effective readers to figure out unfamiliar words and to make meaning, cuing strategies include knowledge of syntax, semantics, words and word meaning, and graphophonics (letter/sound associations). Teachers can guide students to use cuing strategies by reminding them to ask themselves, "Did it sound right? Did it make sense? Did the word look right?"

An English language learner (ELL) is a student who speaks one or more languages other than English and who is just developing proficiency in English. In this video library, both dual language learning and careful scaffolding of literacy experiences in English enhance ELL students' learning of oral and written English.

A child's attempt at spelling a word using what they know about the English spelling system is referred to as invented or temporary spelling. Invented spelling allows emergent writers to explore written language and experiment with writing at a very early stage. Early writing is a valuable developmental indicator of the conventional spelling patterns and the sound/symbol relationships the child has internalized. It can be used to help the teacher's instruction. (Adapted from Literacy Dictionary, p. 128)

Metacognition is the awareness individuals have of their own mental processes and the subsequent ability to monitor, regulate, and direct themselves to a desired end. A student demonstrates metacognition if she can articulate what strategies she used to read and understand a text. Metacognition helps readers monitor and control their comprehension on an ongoing basis and adjust their reading strategies to maximize comprehension. (Adapted from The Literacy Dictionary, p. 128) (See .)

Coined by Ken Goodman in the mid 1960s, a miscue is any departure from the text when reading orally. Use of miscue instead of "error" suggests that mistakes are not random, but occur when the reader tries to use different strategies to make sense of text, and emphasizes that not all errors are equal - some errors represent more highly developed reading skills than others. Miscues can be analyzed to suggest what strategies the reader is using or lacking, and what kinds of additional instruction might be helpful. (See .)

Miscue analysis is a way of closely observing, recording, and analyzing oral reading behaviors to assess how the reader is using specific cuing strategies, like the use of syntax, semantic information, and graphophonics. The teacher uses a specific code to record actual reading. Miscue analysis is usually done with an unfamiliar, long text, followed by a taped retelling. Scoring and analysis is more complex than with a running record, and is usually done at a later time. While running records are most often used with beginning readers, miscue analysis can be used for more advanced readers.

Most words and many syllables can be separated into onsets (the initial consonant sound such as /c/ in cat) and rimes or phonograms (the vowel and letters which follow, such as /-at/). Whole words can be separated into onsets and rimes, such as "/f/ /-or/, " as can syllables, such as /"tr/ /-ans/ /f/ /-orm/. Some words and syllables have only rimes, such as "/on/" or "/-ing/".