Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Are you frustrated that your child struggles a lot when it comes to reading exercises?
Don’t worry. There is a natural progression for everything in the world. We crawl, stand, and walk before running. In reading, researches have shown that the first level is the ‘Frustration’ level. At this level, the reader doesn’t have enough background knowledge, doesn’t know how to answer the questions, and needs a lot of support. He/she needs help from experts. In fact, as per the Phil-IRI scale, there is ‘non-reader’ before the ‘frustration’ level!
At the ‘Instructional’ level, with the help of the instructor, the reader starts learning about the why and what of it, and developing the skills needed on how to approach reading/comprehension. At this level even though he cannot independently handle it, he has sufficient background knowledge and can read quickly with few or fewer errors. The amount of assistance needed should come down gradually.
Our target should be to take him to the highest point of the ‘Independent’ level. A level at which the reader will have adequate background knowledge will be able to access the text and answer the questions very quickly and correctly without help.
Reading/comprehension has huge significance academically, and otherwise. Every assessment at any level tests the level of reading/comprehension skills. So does the 11 Plus. Our pupils need to master this important skill. The key is to realize the fact that every child has to pass through the levels mentioned above, and arrange for the atmosphere and assistance he/she needs. Initially, it will be about recognition of words, and then identifying words with more precision and speed, and finally, identifying most of the words and ideas much more quickly and fluently. Following the cycle of learning, practising, and testing over and over again helps the pupils reach the ‘independent’ level at the earliest.