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Topics of Every Child a Reader

Overview books diagram
The organization of a library fits the organization of this series. Like libraries where materials are organized according to topics, Every Child a Reader is organized by topic. Where a topic is located in a library system—or in reading instruction—does not influence a topic’s importance. All of the topics are important—skills and strategies, comprehension foundations, and professional development.

Within the sections of the Every Child a Reader library, there are books with a range of related topics. There are other topics that could be included on each of the library’s shelves—and they may be added in future issues of the CIERA research implementation series. Further, a particular volume could become a book series. But the existing library contains the basic topics necessary to the development of successful third-grade readers.

Topic 1 Oral Language: Oral Language and Reading
Children’s oral language abilities are interwoven with learning to read and write. The oral language children acquire as preschoolers helps them to connect words and sounds with print. Throughout the school years, oral language is both a means whereby children learn about reading and a goal of reading instruction.

Topic 2 Early Concepts: Concepts of Print, Letter Naming, and Phenomic Awareness
Two powerful predictors of first-grade reading achievement are letter-name knowledge and phonemic awareness (the conscious awareness of the sounds in spoken words). To apply this knowledge successfully to learning to read, children need to understand the purposes and conventions of reading and writing.

Topic 3 Phonics: Phonics and Word Recognition Accuracy
To recognize unfamiliar words when reading, successful beginning readers use phonics (letter-sound associations). Phonics knowledge must be applied to unfamiliar words in reading text and requires monitoring for meaning. To prepare for middle-grade reading, children must augment phonics skills with knowledge of English morphology—meaning units such as roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Topic 4 Fluency: High-Frequency Words and Fluency
Proficient readers recognize the vast majority of words in texts quickly, allowing them to focus on the meaning of the text. Since approximately 300 words account for 65% of the words in texts, rapid recognition of these words during the primary grades forms the foundation of fluent reading.

Topic 5 Strategies: Strategic Comprehension
The basic comprehension strategies that children build out of oral language skills in kindergarten and first grade become more complex in second grade and beyond. As topics and text structures become less familiar and the goal of reading shifts from understanding familiar ideas to acquiring new information, students must develop strategies for texts that extend beyond their own knowledge base.

Topic 6 Writing: Writing and Reading
Learning to write assists children in their reading; in learning to read, children also gain insights that help them as writers. But writing is more than an aid to learning to read; it is an important curricular goal. Through writing children express themselves, clarify their thinking, communicate ideas, and integrate new information into their knowledge base.

Topic 7 Engagement: Engagement and Interest in Reading
From the earliest storybook reading with an adult and the first proudly scribbled message, children enjoy reading and writing because of the social communication and signs of cognitive competence the activities provide. The key to attaining and using literacy, even when sustained effort and attention are needed, is the sense of personal pride that children feel when they succeed.

Topc 8 School Programs: School-Wide Reading Programs
In schools that are successful in fostering high levels of reading achievement, all adults in the school work together on the reading program, build systematic program links across the grades, accept responsibility for all children, and closely monitor students’ progress.

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Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement
University of Michigan School of Education
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610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259
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