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The Five Skills Needed When Learning to Read

Learning to read is a critical component in a child’s development, which not only affects a child’s ability to succeed in school but also his or her desire to learn. The critical years are from kindergarten to third grade. Specific skills need to be taught to a child in order for them to successfully learn to read. Teaching experts break these critical skills into five categories: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. In order for children to learn to read they need to understand how specific sounds comprise words. Phonics refers to the ability to comprehend the general relationships between letters and phonemes. By learning phonics, beginning readers can decode those unfamiliar words that follow the phonic rules. Fluency is the ability to recognize certain words automatically and read text accurately. Fluency is the bridge to text comprehension as it fosters effortless reading, which allows the mind to focus on understanding what was read.

Vocabulary relates to those words that a student must understand (when listening, speaking, reading and writing) to communicate effectively. Text comprehension is the ability to understand what is read. To master text comprehension readers must be aware of what they understand, be able to identify what they do not understand and use strategies to solve problems by themselves. According to a U.S. Department of Education publication, “Teaching specific words before reading helps both vocabulary learning and reading comprehension.”

Er-u-di-tion, the sight words game, was designed to enhance each of these five critical reading skills. The game’s cards are segregated into four categories so players with different reading skills can play together. The blue cards were designed for pre-school ages and develop phonemic awareness and phonics skills. Each of these cards contains an upper and lower case letter and two words that emphasize that letter’s most common phonic sound.

The green, yellow, and red cards were designed for elementary school ages and serve to develop fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension skills. Each of these cards contains a sight word as well as its syllabication and definition. Through repetitive interaction with these game cards, children learn to recognize upon sight, properly pronounce, and comprehend the meaning of these high frequency words.

In the classroom, centers ranging from 4 to 6 children provide an ideal environment to use the game creating a fun and entertaining atmosphere while exposing students to those high frequency words that are critical to early reading development.
Er-u-di-tion is also a great educational game to play with friends and/or family.

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