Posts Tagged National Reading Panel

Reading for Meaning? What Exactly Does That Mean?

Posted in free phonics program, reading for meaning, teaching children reading comprehension strategies, teaching children to make inferences | Comments Off on Reading for Meaning? What Exactly Does That Mean?

The ultimate reading goal

is to enable a child to

“personally connect”

with what he reads.


It’s true that reading for meaning begins when a child develops the skills to fluently sound out every word on every page.  For most children, this requires systematic training in phonics. 


After children develop the capability to read all the words on the page, they must then develop the ability to see and answer the basic questions of: Who? What? When? and Where?


However, answering these basic questions is only where “reading for meaning” begins.  The ultimate reading goal is to enable a child to move on to “connecting” with what he reads.


Sadly, our federal education system needs to get better connected to this whole “connection” reading thing and place it in our classrooms.  It’s a fact, most teachers and parents do not realize just how important this reading comprehensive/connecting-with-the-text skill really is.


You see, some at our federal educational level feel that “testing” children frequently will help them develop better reading and comprehension skills.  However, tests simply reveal what students have failed to learn and what teachers have failed to teach; tests do not give teachers the skills they need to correct those failures.  Tests do no good unless a child’s Individualized Education Program includes the correct reading/discussion strategies specifically aimed at developing inferential thinking abilities. 


Others believe that developing long vocabulary lists will help children to better connect with the meaning on the page.  It’s true, better vocabulary skills DEFINITELY will help children to understand what they read, but helping them to “connect” with the text?  Well, now, that’s a whole different story. 


What do we mean when we talk about “connecting” with the text?  Connecting with the text, first of all, means that a child can personalize the meaning found in the words he reads.  In other words, he must learn to routinely determine how the material on the page personally affects him.  It is this personalization, together with a student’s ability to grasp the meaning in-between the words on the page as well as his ability to draw researched-based conclusions based upon those words that gives a child inferential thinking abilities.    


To be sure, drawing inferential conclusions should be the whole goal of learning to read.  In fact, reading research reveals that good readers of all ages continually use what they know and use what they have experienced to thoroughly understand, remember and apply what they hear and read. Unfortunately, very, very few of our students today have gained the skills necessary to do that. 



Inferential comprehension takes place when children

go beyond the standard facts given on a page

and draw their own research-based conclusions.


Can children really learn to do this? 


Yes!  Absolutely they can, if an adult in their lives takes the initiative to teach them.  Children can learn to answer more than the basic questions written in a text.


If a child learns how to connect with the text, then that child can also begin to ask and answer the “Why?” questions and to persuade others of his/her point of view using attestable facts, testimony, and reasoning.  This skill level is exactly how Marva Collins transformed the lives of children labeled by the public school system as LD. 


Marva Collins took children that the public school system declared “learning disabled” (children who had been shuffled into the special education mainstream) and activated the inferential thinking skills hidden inside each one of them.  In turn, many of Marva’s students went on to colleges such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.  Many of those students became lawyers, doctors, engineers and educators. 


In contrast, did you know that almost 4 out of every 10 students in today’s public schools are reading below the basic proficiency reading level?  What’s more, as Marva Collins discovered, far too many of those students are being wrongly labeled as LD children.  That’s disturbing, because a recent study revealed by the National Center for Learning Disabilities reported that 66 percent of special education students are reading three or more grade levels behind and 20 percent of them are reading five or more grade levels behind. 


Try to imagine that.  What’s really upsetting is that almost every one of those children could have learned to read correctly if given adequate, systematic, phonics-first reading instruction, and almost every one of those children could have gained inferential thinking abilities had they been connected with an instructor or a parent or a grandmother who interacted with them through reading-aloud/discussion times aimed at developing inferential comprehension skills. 


As important as inferential reasoning is, learning how to SOUND OUT every word on every page, is VITAL.  Would you like to find out how your child (for 100% ABSOLUTELY FREE) can receive an entire phonics-first, step-by-step curriculum so that he/she can learn to fluently sound out every word on every page? If so, we encourage you start by reading little Candy’s TRUE STORY.    



Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics