Kelsie Syverson, EngEd 370, Chapter 2: Approaches to Reading Instruction

Instructional Approaches

Basal Reading Approach

  • Provides everything needed for a complete reading program
  • Wide variety of genres
  • Provides scope and sequence (lesson taught in order, students move from level to level) of skills and strategies
  • Based on the assumption that students learn to read by reading, writing, and talking about meaningful topics
  • Used in small group situations typically at the elementary level
  • Word recognition skills are used to expand meaningful reading, discussing, and writing

Language Experience Approach (LEA)

  • Includes story dictation, recording the language of children on paper and using what is said as the basis for reading instruction
  • Also includes “planned and continuous activities such as individual- and group-dictated stories, the building of word banks of known words, creative writing activities, oral reading of prose and poetry by teacher and students, directed reading-thinking lessons, the investigation of interests using multiple materials, and keeping record of student progress” (Vacca, Vacca, & Gove, 2012, p.48)
  • Embraces natural language and uses background experiences (this can be very useful for English Language Learners)

Integrated Language Arts Approach

  • Extends the concept of language experience by immersing students in reading, writing, talking, listening, and viewing activities
  • The language arts support each other and are connected through the use of informative and imaginative literature

Literature Based Approach

  • Accommodate each students differences and focuses on meaning, interest, and enjoyment
  • Students select their own books
  • Students can write different endings to stories or events that happened in their lives, this could be similar to other stories they have read
  • Students can also use what they read in stories to help in their real life such as conflict resolution because of a way characters in a story handled a similar situation

Technology Based Approach/Instruction

  • Learning to read through the use of technology
  • Started with the development of the CD-ROM, made learning to read more engaging and interactive
  • Online opportunities can be easily incorporated into the classroom and can help to greatly enhance the learning of students
  • “Technology increases the availability of reading material, changes the way in which reading takes place, provides individual learning opportunities, and encourages students to use good judgement in locating and using information” (Vacca, Vacca, and Gove, 2012, p. 52)

Instructional Scaffolding

  • Students become aware of the use of skills and strategies that they need to be successful
  • Scaffolding means the students are getting help to do something that they are unable to do on their own at first. Instructional scaffolding means teachers support literacy learning by teaching students the skills and strategies that will lead them to learning how to do it independently
  • Can be provided through well-timed questions, explanations, demonstrations, practice, and application. This can all be combined into mini-lessons which provide explicit strategy instruction for students who need instructional guidance with skills and strategies for reading
  • Mini-lessons allow teachers to share insight and knowledge with the students that they might not ever come across
  • Explicit instruction involves strategic learning, not habit formation

Vacca, J. L., Vacca, R. T., & Gove, M. K. (2012). Reading and learning to read (8th ed.). New York: Longman.

Classroom Application

I think all of these strategies can be used in the classroom. I like the idea of using LEA after students go on a field trip to create a book that is made up of their ideas. I think that technology is becoming a huge part of the school system but is also a great resource like ReadingAtoZ. I will also use scaffolding and explicit instruction through the use of mini-lessons.


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