Introductory Challenge

This unit focuses on the big picture of how reading instruction is conducted in most schools. Chances are, your reading instruction was similar in many ways to instruction used in schools today—combining phonics, sight words, and whole-language approaches in a sequence that moved from very simple words, sentences, and stories in “primers” to complex ones in the higher grade levels of a reading textbook series. Did your teachers in the early grades teach phonics and emphasize the sounds that different letters make? Did they give you lists of words to learn by sight? Did your teachers read over-sized “big books” aloud to the class and discuss the books with the class? As you move through the unit, consider how reading was taught in the elementary school (or schools) you attended, perhaps comparing it to what you have seen more recently in schools.