About this Module

Helping Students Read is all about helping parapros support students who are learning to become effective readers. Parapros often work with students who find reading difficult. To provide help, they supervise one-on-one or small group practice sessions. Sometimes they serve on teams that plan reading lessons and assessments.

Parapros can do a lot to support students’ reading. A first step is to learn about what reading is and what happens when students learn to read.

This module provides answers. The answers come from a growing body of research called the science of reading.

Core Concepts

Reading is a complex process. The better we understand how that process works, the better we can help students learn to read. And the best way to understand, and therefore to help, is to base our practices on scientific evidence.

Key Vocabulary

AJAX progress indicator
  • Assets-Based Pedagogy
    A type of teaching that views and affirms students' differences as strengths rather than as obstacles to their learning achievement.
  • Best Practice
    An effective method for doing something, especially when the method is supported by evidence.
  • Decoding (or Sounding Out)
    Translating printed words into spoken words. Students match letters and sounds and recognize the patterns that make up syllables and words.
  • Dyslexia
    Difficulty with word recognition, spelling, and decoding that is unusual relative to a student's other skills.
  • English Learner (EL)
    A student whose primary language is not English but who is learning to rely on English in classroom settings.
  • Phonemic Awareness
    Knowing that small units of sound (called phonemes [FOH-neems]) make up words, including written words.
  • Phonics
    A method of teaching reading and writing by connecting the sounds of language with the spelling patterns that represent them.
  • Print Awareness
    Knowledge of how to use a book, including how to hold it, turn pages, show pictures, and read text.
  • Scarborough's Rope
    A diagram of the reading process that shows each part of it as an intertwined thread of a larger rope. The more tightly wound the rope, the better a student reads.
  • Science of Reading
    An understanding of reading that relies on scientific evidence, often from psychology or cognitive science.
  • Sight Words
    Words a reader recognizes almost automatically due to advanced decoding skills. Sight words are stored in our memory so we don't have to stop and figure them out.
  • Simple View of Reading
    The view that reading comprehension consists of recognizing and then understanding words.
  • Teaching (Designing) to the Edges
    Fitting instruction to the real skills and needs of students instead of to an imaginary average student who does not actually exist.
  • Universal Design for Learning
    A way of teaching aimed at reaching all students by using flexible and adaptable methods that engage many different parts of the brain.