If you have read the materials in this module, watched the webinars, and completed at least some of the activities, you should now understand various ways to help students learn to read. As a paraprofessional, you will typically be helping a teacher teach reading. You will not be teaching reading on your own. Perhaps you will work with individual students or perhaps with small groups of students. You will most likely use a lesson plan or activity that the teacher develops.

With your deeper understanding of how children learn to read, you will now be ready to act on the three ideas presented in this unit.

  • The purpose of reading is to derive meaning. Instruction in phonics, sight words, vocabulary, and text structure is important. But it should always serve comprehension. Emphasizing the meaning of written material is critical. Tying phonics, sight word, vocabulary, and text-structure lessons to meaningful written material will help students see the relevance of these lessons.
  • Students differ in the ways they learn to read. Although many students benefit from learning how to decode using principles of phonics, not all students do. Similarly some students find memorizing sight words easy. Others find it difficult. Trying to match reading instruction to students’ learning preferences can help them learn to read more readily and with greater satisfaction.
  • Reading should be enjoyable. So too should learning to read. Instructional materials and activities that bore or frustrate students should be replaced with more inviting, accessible materials.