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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

Starting Out Right

A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

The study was supported by Contract/Grant No. H023S50001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children

CATHERINE SNOW (Chair),

Graduate School of Education, Harvard University;

MARILYN JAGER ADAMS,

Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts;

BARBARA T. BOWMAN,

Erikson Institute, Chicago, Illinois;

BARBARA FOORMAN,

Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas, and Houston Medical School;

DOROTHY FOWLER,

Fairfax County Public Schools, Annandale, Virginia;

CLAUDE N. GOLDENBERG,

Department of Teacher Education, California State University, Long Beach;

EDWARD J. KAME’ENUI*,

College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene;

WILLIAM LABOV,

Department of Linguistics and Psychology, University of Pennsylvania;

RICHARD K. OLSON,

Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder;

ANNEMARIE SULLIVAN PALINCSAR,

School of Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor;

CHARLES A. PERFETTI,

Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh;

HOLLIS S. SCARBOROUGH,

Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, Connecticut;

SALLY SHAYWITZ,

Department of Pediatrics, Yale University;

KEITH STANOVICH,

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto;

DOROTHY STRICKLAND,

Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University;

SAM STRINGFIELD,

Center for the Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University;

ELIZABETH SULZBY,

School of Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor;

M. SUSAN BURNS, Study Director;

PEG GRIFFIN, Research Associate;

SHARON VANDIVERE, Project Assistant

*  

Did not sign off on this book

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Starting out right : a guide to promoting children's reading success / M. Susan Burns, Peg Griffin, and Catherine E. Snow, editors ; Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-06410-4 (pbk.)

1. Reading (Early childhood)—United States. 2. Reading disability—United States. I. Burns, M. Susan (Marie Susan). II. Griffin, Peg. III. Snow, Catherine E. IV. Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

LB1139.5.R43 S83 1998

372.1—ddc21

98-25492

Additional copies of this report are available from
National Academy Press,
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055. Call (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). This report is also available online at http://www.nap.edu

Printed in the United States of America

Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Book design by Francesca Moghari (National Academy Press).

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

Starting Out Right

A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success

M. Susan Burns, Peg Griffin, and Catherine E. Snow, Editors

Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, DC
1999

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

Contents

 

 

Foreword

 

vi

 

 

Introduction

 

1

   

 Guide to This Book

 

2

 

 

Promoting Children’s Reading Success

 

5

   

 Circumstances That Promote Reading

 

8

 

 

Growing Up to Read Birth Through Age Four

 

15

   

 Key Aspects of Language and Literacy, Activities for Very Young Children

 

19

   

 ★Extended Vocabulary and Language Development

 

 

   

 ★Phonological Awareness

 

 

   

 ★Speech Discrimination

 

 

   

 ★Knowledge of Narrative

 

 

   

 ★Book and Print Awareness

 

 

   

 ★Functions of Print

 

 

   

 ★Print Concepts

 

 

   

 ★Letter and Early Word Recognition

 

 

   

 ★Comprehension

 

 

   

 ★Literacy as a Source of Enjoyment★

 

 

   

 Literacy—from Parent to Child

 

42

   

 Talking to a Baby: Day Care Environments

 

43

   

 High-Quality Preschool

 

44

   

 Language and Literacy Activities in Preschool

 

46

   

 ★Phonological Awareness

 

 

   

 ★Sociodramatic Play

 

 

   

 ★Listening

 

 

   

 ★Oral Language

 

 

   

 ★Shared Reading

 

 

   

 ★Exposure to Books

 

 

   

 ★Letter-Naming

 

 

   

 ★Writing

 

 

   

 ★Computer-Based Literacy★

 

 

   

 Accomplishments of the Very Young Child

 

58

   

 Early Childhood Educators

 

58

 

 

Becoming Real Readers Kindergarten Through Grade Three

 

61

   

 Individual Children

 

61

   

 The Kindergarten Challenge

 

65

   

 What Must Be Accomplished—Goals of Kindergarten

 

65

   

 Activities and Practices for Kindergartners

 

66

   

 ★Book and Print Awareness

 

 

   

 ★Phonological Awareness

 

 

   

 ★Language, Comprehension, and Response to Text

 

 

   

 ★Letter Recognition, Decoding, and Word Recognition

 

 

   

 ★Spelling and Writing

 

 

   

 Accomplishments of the Kindergarten Student

 

84

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×
   

 First Grade: An Important Year

 

86

   

 Features of Success

 

88

   

 Activities and Practices for First Grade Classrooms

 

90

   

 ★Continuing Phonemic Awareness, Letter Knowledge, and Book and Print Awareness

 

 

   

 ★Decoding, Word Recognition, and Oral Reading

 

 

   

 ★Language, Comprehension, and Response to Text

 

 

   

 ★Spelling and Writing★

 

 

   

 Accomplishments of the First Grade Student

 

106

   

 Directions for Second and Third Grades

 

108

   

 ★Strategies for Comprehension and Fluency

 

 

   

 ★Words and Knowledge

 

 

   

 ★Comprehension Techniques★

 

 

   

 What Happens in Second Grade

 

113

   

 ★Decoding, Word Recognition, and Oral Reading

 

 

   

 ★Language, Comprehension, and Response to Text

 

 

   

 ★Spelling and Writing★

 

 

   

 What Happens in Third Grade

 

115

   

 ★Decoding, Word Recognition, and Oral Reading

 

 

   

 ★Language, Comprehension, and Response to Text

 

 

   

 ★Spelling and Writing★

 

 

   

 Accomplishments of the Second and Third Grade Student

 

117

   

 Computers in Classrooms and at Home

 

120

   

 Excellence in Primary Grade Teaching—A Career-Long Process

 

122

 

 

Preventing Reading Difficulties

 

127

   

 Who Are the Children Who Have Reading Difficulties

 

130

   

 ★Children Who Attend a Chronically Low-Achieving School

 

 

   

 ★Children with Low English Proficiency

 

 

   

 ★Children Unfamiliar with Standard English Dialect

 

 

   

 ★Children Living in Communities in Poverty★

 

 

   

 What Can We Do Before Children Reach School?

 

134

   

 ★Health Care Professionals and Reading

 

 

   

 ★Screening by Early Childhood Professionals

 

 

   

 ★Children Whose Parents Have a History of Reading Difficulty★

 

 

   

 Developmental Interventions for the Youngest Children

 

137

   

 ★Reaching Out to Children’s Homes★

 

 

   

 Summary

 

139

   

 Help in the Early Grades

 

140

   

 The Need for Reading Specialists

 

140

   

 The Community Is Needed

 

140

   

 Volunteer Tutoring

 

142

   

 Conclusion

 

145

 

 

Glossary

 

147

 

 

For More Information

 

153

 

 

Internet Resources

 

165

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

169

 

 

Credits

 

171

 

 

Index

 

173

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

Foreword

Madeline soon ate and drank.

On her bed there was a crank,

and a crack on the ceiling had the habit

of sometimes looking like a rabbit.*


How easy it is for us adults to forget the magic of our own childhood—the freshness of each discovery, the joy at awakening to each new day. And yet the human spirit thrives on the stimulation that comes from discovering new things, and each of us is refreshed by an active imagination that truly exercises the mind. We began this brief foreword with a quotation from a well-known children’s book to help transport the reader, for just one fleeting moment, into the mind of a young child. As he or she reads or is being read to, the series of vivid images that accompanies a good story will carry a child into unfamiliar worlds—leading the child to make new mental connections that will enrich the experience of many subsequent actual events.

Yet today we are seeing an increasing number of students who are not proficient readers, as well as adults who cannot read well, even though they have been to school. In fact, surveys tell us that 4 in 10 children experience literacy problems. It is for this reason that the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, with which we are both involved, set out to identify the specific skills and experiences that children need to become fluent readers. A select committee composed of educators, linguists, pediatricians, and psychologists has carefully reviewed the relevant scientific literature about how children

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

become successful readers, and their findings are reflected in this book, which is based on the groundbreaking study Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

In our society, reading is essential for creating a healthy mind and for building the capacity needed for a lifetime of learning. It is therefore our hope that this book—and others like it—will be prescribed by pediatricians, as part of their responsibility to help parents raise a healthy child. Many parents who read this book may be surprised to learn of research suggesting that infants only a few months old should be read to, as part of the preparation they will need much later for reading—or that reciting nursery rhymes is an important part of reading preparation. As parents and grandparents, we have found that reading out loud with our younger family members creates a strong bond between generations, providing us with many shared experiences to enjoy. We remember reading to our children even after they had become excellent readers, allowing us to explore literature together. In retrospect, we now realize that the obvious enjoyment of these sessions helped our children to view reading as a very pleasurable experience.

Our friend Dr. Vartan Gregorian, former president of the New York City Public Library, has said:

“Any book creates for the reader a place elsewhere. A person reading is a person suspended between the immediate and the timeless. This suspension serves a purpose that has little to do with escaping from the real world, the sin avid readers are most commonly accused of. Reading provides renewal. What is renewed is the imagination.”

No person should be deprived of one of life’s real pleasures, the joy of reading.

Bruce and Betty Alberts


Bruce and Betty Alberts have four children, including a foster child who joined the family at age 13. They have 3 grandchildren ages 2 to 7, plus one more on the way. They look forward with great eagerness to visits with grandchildren, which provide them with an excuse to enjoy reading children’s books once again. In addition to his family responsibilities, Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

*  

From Bemelmans, L. (1939) Madeline. New York: The Viking Press.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
×

This book is based on a major report of the National Research Council, entitled Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, prepared by the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

Both books are available on the Internet at

www.nap.edu.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6014.
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A devastatingly large number of people in America cannot read as well as they need for success in life. With literacy problems plaguing as many as four in ten children in America, this book discusses how best to help children succeed in reading. This book identifies the most important questions and explores the authoritative answers on the topic of how children can grow into readers, including:

  • What are the key elements all children need in order to become good readers?
  • What can parents and caregivers provide all children so that they are prepared for reading instruction by the time that they get to school?
  • What concepts about language and literacy should be included in beginning reading instruction?
  • How can we prevent reading difficulties starting with infants and into the early grades?
  • What to ask school boards, principals, elected officials, and other policy makers who make decisions regarding early reading instruction.

You'll find out how to help youngsters build word recognition, avoid comprehension problems, and more--with checklists of specific accomplishments to be expected at different ages: for very young children, for kindergarten students, and for first, second, and third grade students. Included are 55 activities to do with children to help them become successful readers, a list of recommended children's books, and a guide to CD-ROMs and websites.

Great strides have been made recently toward identifying the best ways to teach children to read. Starting Out Right provides a wealth of knowledge based on a summary of extensive research. It is a "must read" for specialists in primary education as well as parents, pediatricians, child care providers, tutors, literacy advocates, policy makers, and teachers.

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