Reading and writing are essential for a student's development and learning. Unfortunately, many students encounter a challenge during reading and writing. There are many errors that children make when learning (Truscott, 2007). The good thing is that these common errors can be corrected before they become stuck in a student's reading and writing. Students face difficulties in reading and writing because they lack specific skills that are essential in reading and writing mastery (Huang, 2011). It is, therefore, necessary to learn the exact errors being made and then determine which skills to employ to help the student develop their skills.
For reading, a student who makes many errors is a clear indication that there is an underlying deficiency in mastering a skill. Most of the time, children or students do not understand why they are making the reading errors. To them, they perceive reading as hard, thus making continuous mistakes (Avalos et al., 2007). A struggling reader does not recognize the error being made in reading and does not know the skill they need to acquire to be proficient readers. Therefore, parents and teachers have to note patterns in the errors made by a student. According to Avalos et al. (2007), parents and teachers should consider the skills the learner needs to acquire, such as tracking, blending, knowledge of the code, and paying attention to details.
On the other hand, writing in itself is uniquely challenging to young learners. Writing requires a learner to master and use a complex variety of vocabulary, language skills, spelling, and the ability to organize and express a thought. Writing is sophisticated and sometimes can be seen as a task by the learners (Truscott, 2007). If the learner is not guided well in writing, the learner will not only have a problem with grammar but also other subjects. In the long run, overall academic performance will be affected. In this paper, am going to analyze the data of a fifth-grader, identify the reading and writing capabilities as well the shortcomings, plan for teaching approaches that can improve the student's mastery of reading and writing and finally measure the success of the teaching criteria employed according to the Victorian curriculum.
Grade 5 Reading Analysis
The learner is good at oral reading, evidenced by the ease and ability to identify and recognize words. The learner takes short pauses between words and does not hesitate when they meet unfamiliar words. The learner in this context may have been exposed to extensive reading, thus the familiarity with most unfamiliar terms among learners of the same age. In most cases, the context with which the new words are found gives the learner all the clues needed to identify its meaning. The learner, however, is not perfect in reading and has a blending difficulty, commits errors in tracking sounds, and does not pay attention to details as discussed below:
The student under analysis faces a blending challenge, as evidenced by the segmented sounding out. The sounds have been said broken apart, making them not to blend smoothly. In the reading text, the learner has said all the individual sounds in the word 'shoulder' but has it segmented at the end, 'should-err.' The learner was unable to combine them back, thus the error. Similarly, the learner could be having a problem with multiple syllable words, in this case, (shoulder). This multi-syllable problem occurs when a learner can read shorter words with ease but struggles with words that contain multiple syllables (Avalos et al., 2007). The errors involving multiple syllables include adding or dropping a sound inappropriately, making it difficult to join up words to come up with a sensible meaning, changing or missing parts of a word, and difficulty handling long words such as the word 'fortunate.'
Lack of attention to details
In reading, paying attention to details is very important. When the learner pronounces the word 'fortunate,' the learner did not pay much attention and instead read the word as 'fortune,' completely missing the other letters coming at the end. Attention to detail errors is a common characteristic of fast and sloppy readers. These learners rush through reading, move very fast, and in the process, miss entire words or sections. These quick and sloppy readers have the necessary reading skills but are unable to apply them because they are in too much of a hurry. In this case, the learner needs thorough training in careful reading. Word guessing may have also been responsible for the learner pronouncing 'fortunate' as 'fortune.' The learner might have been familiar with the word fortune from previously exposed texts. The learner recognized the first part of the word and then substituted it with the word 'fortune,' which might have been the familiar word known at the time.
Furthermore, the learner identifies with tracking errors. Typically, a text is read from left to right. This skill comes naturally to most older learners after many years of fluent reading. However, most young learners do not know that sounds must follow the left-right direction (Truskott, 2007). The young learner in this context read the word 'afraid' as' afard.' Note that the learner has pronounced the letter 'a' before the letter 'r,' which is not the normal left in the right direction. Tracking errors, therefore, are mistakes learners make when they start to read phonetically. This tracking mistake is serious and makes a word lose its meaning altogether.
Writing of essays requires knowledge in forming letters, organizing ideas, use of the correct grammar, and correct punctuation and spelling. To begin with, the learner has an average command of the English language. The thoughts are well expressed and understandable. The learner can write all the letters well. The letters and words are well spaced, making it easy to read the essay until the very end. In spite of being able to express a thought, the student has difficulty in capitalization, using apostrophes and commits many spelling mistakes as shown below:
However, the learner does not know when and where to capitalize the words used. Proper nouns, such as the name of the essay writer, are not capitalized. It is important to note that all proper names such as names of people, cities, and towns should begin with capital letters. Some words which do not require capitalization have also been capitalized. An example of such a word is escaping where the learner has capitalized the letter 'p.' In addition, the learner has failed to capitalize the first word of every new sentence begun. The learner has begun most of the new sentences with small letters making it difficult to know the beginning and the end of the sentences.
Poor knowledge of Apostrophe use
Similarly, the student has poor knowledge of the use of apostrophes. An apostrophe is supposed to follow every shortened word. Without the apostrophe, the meaning of a word changes. In the essay, the learner uses the word (it's) without the apostrophe, which has completely different meanings. The word 'iam' has been shortened as well without the use of an apostrophe.
The most common grammatical mistake in the essay written by the learner is spelling. A spelling mistake may be a reason for concern, but in the real sense, it is an opportunity for the student to learn (Huang, 2011). Spelling mistakes result from leaving out or adding an extra sound, not applying some grammatical rules, or an inability to think of individual syllables or root words. Spelling errors can make a word to lack meaning. Therefore, once a learner has been identified with this mistake, it is necessary to note it early, determine the cause of the mistake and have the learner spell the word again.
Future Literacy Learning Goals
Correcting reading mistakes
Based on the problems the learner has on reading and writing, it is crucial to come up with solutions. There is no better way to improve a learner's performance than to read and write as much as possible. For a learner who does not follow the rule of reading from left to right, practice with a teacher is essential. A finger pointing technique is used. (Copland et al., 2014).
Finger-pointing help learners to track read in the left-right direction. It also makes a learner read word by word. When the learner has mastered the right direction of reading, finger-pointing is stopped to increase reading speed. To curb difficulty in pronouncing multiple syllable words, the learner has to decide to undergo phonetics training again. First, the learner is taught letter sounds. Secondly, the learner is taught how to blend individual sounds to come up with a whole word. The learner will begin with consonants and vowels. Thirdly, digraphs are introduced in addition to common words that fail to follow the phonics rule (Copland et al., 2014). At this point, the learner should be able to pronounce both familiar and unfamiliar words.
Correcting writing mistakes
The learner is introduced to correct punctuation, parts of speech, capitalization, and proofreading strategies. To correct capitalization, the learner gets exposed to a wide variety of national adjectives, names of languages, festivals, Institutions, and nouns. (Huang, 2011). Punctuation lessons should be reviewed, as well. In the written essay, the learner knows the different kinds of punctuation marks but do not know where and when to use them. Exposure can also play a significant role in enhancing the learner's writing skills. The learner should be exposed to a wide variety of books, articles, journals, and other texts (Huang, 2011). This regular exposure to lots and good writing naturally improves the reading skills of the learner and writing skills.
Recommended Teaching Approaches
From the student's data, it is evident that there are a reading and writing problem. Teaching approaches, such as guided reading, modeling, and independent learning, can be used to assist the student (Avalos et al., 2007).
Guided reading as an instructional approach involves a teacher providing a text that the student will read with support provided, the ultimate goal is independent reading. In this approach, the student will re-read familiar texts for some minutes, which is an excellent way of promoting the student's fluency (Yazdani et al., 2015.). For the next minute or so, the student will practice the previously learned words. The teacher then introduces unfamiliar text which the student will read out silently or loudly as the teacher coaches. The last part involves word study, which consists of sorting of words or pictures and studying the student's spelling pattern (Yazdani et al., 2015). Guided reading has several benefits. The approach exposes the student to interact with a wide variety of texts. The method also enables the student to think like a proficient reader and enable the student to tackle challenging texts with assistance.
Independent learning is a process that is self-guided to expand skills and knowledge. This learning technique is about a student being active rather than passive. Independent learning can be achieved in two ways. It can occur in a classroom with the teacher present or involve the student engaging with the other students. The teacher's role, in this case, becomes supporting the student to discover facts without being directly involved. Independent learning boosts the social skills of the student in addition to developing intellectual curiosity and creativity.
On the other hand, modeling as a teaching approach involves a teacher illustrating a new concept, and the student learns by observation a...
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