Summary & References


The best way for parapros to help students read is to base their instructional practice on evidence. Science helps produce this evidence, along with careful observation by educators. What science tells us about reading is that children learn best when they have a strong foundation in phonemic awareness and phonics instruction to help them decode. Parapros can help with this type of instruction. They can also help students build other reading skills, like expanding their vocabularies and understanding different types of written material (e.g., non-fiction, fiction).

Reading is a complex skill, and each student brings a different mix of other skills to the table as he or she learns to do it. For this reason, parapros should be sensitive to the needs of each student. Instructional planning should take this concern for individual students into account as well. Instruction that focuses on the positive aspects of students’ abilities and not their deficits is the best way to support them as they learn to read.


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López, F. A. (2017). Altering the trajectory of the self-fulfilling prophecy: Assets-based pedagogy and classroom dynamics. Journal of Teacher Education, 68(2), 193–212.

Whitehurst, G., & Lonigan, C. (1998). Child development and emergent literacy. Child Development, 69(3), 848-872.

Willingham, D.T. (2017). The reading mind: A cognitive approach to understanding how the mind reads. Jossey-Bass.