Word Power & Its Importance in Scientific Reading

The National Reading Panel (NRP) in its review of reading research within the realm of what is being labeled science of reading, which includes broad categories: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, found how important it is to support young children’s understanding of morphology. It is easy to overlook how root words and suffixes work and syntax: the way words can be arranged in different ways into different kinds of sentences. While it is important to understand what words mean, it is just as important to understand their nuances, whether a word has a positive or a negative connotation depending on who is using it and in what context.

While students might be able to decode text well by the time they get to third or fourth grade, there is more to follow. Rigorous experimental studies in which students were given systemic phonics instruction and also taught context clues to help them when struggling to sound out words found that the combined method helps make them better readers. While phonics instruction may well appear to be at the center of scientific reading, clearly it is not enough to strengthen students reading as they move encounter continuous challenges at middle level instruction.

The relationship between words, context, and meaning is essential for growth in reading power. However, it is just as important to monitor student comprehension once the student demonstrates an ability to understand and exhibit phonemic and phonological competence. Here is where Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) can assist teachers in assessing a student’s overall ability to comprehend textual information. Keeping in mind that DRP was developed for New York State for this purpose. DRP reports provide timely and critical insights to assist teachers to tailor individual improvement plans, interventions, and strategies to monitor and support a student’s continuous reading success throughout the year.

As one of the best reading assessments, DRP provides the evidence of a student’s readiness to comprehend text as it requires appropriate challenges in using context clues and syntactic understanding so important in gauging a student’s reading level. Without the help of DRP to inform a student’s reading comprehension status, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to keep a continuous reading process aimed at progress on course.

Those interested in learning more about DRP should contact Pete Cooper at 518-925-6021 or pcooper@edvistas.com.

Dr. Bruce H. Crowder is a senior researcher for Educational Vistas, Inc. His work is primarily focused on creating pathways for deeper learning for all students through student performance and a dynamic curriculum replete with strategic teaching. Dr. Crowder may be reached at bcrowder@edvistas.com