IDEAL 1stGRADE CLASSROOM COMPONENTS2There are several key components that are essential to understanding reading and reading instruction. While many teachers strive to include them in their classroom instruction, their understanding is critical to the success of their students both in reading and in other content areas. Fortunately they all stream together to make one large concept. They are like rungs on the ladder of achievement and ultimately will provide for a positive reading experience for many years to come. Not that one must come before the other, but it takes understanding of all of themin order for them to lead to comprehension. Phonemic Awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension all function as a part of each other. Elementary teachers need to encourage their students to learn and master all of these components. While this is a challenge, the pages ofthis document will help outline the definition and some of the teaching options that are available to ensure that these concepts are part of your everyday classroom. Make it fun! Students don’t grasp these skills overnight. They will be more apt to learning though if you lead them through their learning with a systematic approach that can be formulated when you use the information inthis paper as your guide.
IDEAL 1stGRADE CLASSROOM COMPONENTS3Phonemic Awareness:Phonemic awareness is the ability to understand the auditory differences in the spoken word. It is the concept of understanding the differences between the sounds in words such that you know that the word led and lad are different. In this example, the student would be able to know that the sounds that make the words are different, not that the specific words are different with different meaning. Phonemic awareness is an important building block for learning to read. In an article by Susan Brady, she points out that : “Because all writing systems represent spoken language, it is necessary for the person learning to read and write to be aware of the unit of language being used in the particular system, thus to learn the written language children must attain awareness that spoken words can be divided into phonemes.” (Brady, 2012)Phonemic awareness is sometimes difficult for students to learn, and without the right understanding, can be a complicated standalone lesson for teachers to teach. There are elements of phonemic awareness that are found in the Common Core Standards because of their importance to the overall achievement of young students learning to read and master writing of the English language. For example, in the first grade Virginia State Standards you can see phonemic awareness: 1.4 The student will orally identify, produce, and manipulate various units of speech sounds within words.