More about the reading process

Just read some more so…

Children’s journeys into reading will all be individual – no processes are going to be the same for every child however we of course need to generalize to discuss. Kelly and Safford (2008) discuss the early experiences of children and there importance in terms of reading development. They cite research from Holdaway (1979) who discussed the wealth of knowledge children acquire from relationships between text, adult and child in early bed time reading. Where children are exposed to texts at an early age, ‘conditions for becoming a reader’ are ‘laid down’ at an early age (Kelly and Safford, 2008, p.45).

They begin to discuss briefly the impact of new media on the development of literacy and the multi-modal dimension this is bringing to reading. This is only briefly touched upon.

Children’s play is also identified as being an important precursor to reading. Citing Vygotsky (1978) they discuss how play enables the understanding of ‘first order symbolism’, which lays foundations for ‘second order symbolism’ in which children actively comprehend that a written word stands for a spoken word which stands for the ‘thing’ itself.

They move on to discuss the importance of phonological awareness in enabling phonics understanding suggesting that language play focuses children’s phonological awareness (2008, p.49). Uta Frith’s (1985) work is detailed and the orthographic process of whole word recognition and understanding of letters and sounds understood as being driven by reading.

The need for access to high quality experiences in reading is again a focus in developing children’s reading as is focusing on comprehension as active meaning-making rather than the look and find tasks of previous years.

Issues with EAL come to my mind as the ‘culturally specific’ (Kelly and Safford, 2008, p.49) nature of the reading journey is explored. With such a variety of literacy practices in different cultures, EAL children will take longer to adjust to our understanding of reading and perhaps how we value reading.

Some key theories discusses here from some key academics.

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