and parents and educators have been understandably frustrated by school districts and states that shift curricula to embrace the latest solution. In fact, there is no simple solution. This is one of the most important messages of this book.

Reading is a complex and multifaceted process, and children need an approach to learning that integrates many elements. Children who are first learning to read need appropriate help in understanding, learning, and using the spelling-sound conventions of the writing system, as well as opportunities to appreciate the information and pleasures offered by print. They need to learn more and more about the vocabulary and sentence structure of written English. They need help with procedures for monitoring comprehension. They also need sufficient practice with a variety of texts to achieve fluency, so that both word recognition and reading comprehension become increasingly fast, accurate, and well coordinated. Three main accomplishments characterize good readers:

  • they understand the alphabetic system of English to identify printed words,

  • they have and use background knowledge and strategies to obtain meaning from print,

  • they read fluently.

In good instruction, these three goals are not only addressed but are also well integrated, enabling young readers to gain proficiency in all of them.

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