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Guiding Children's Reading Through Experiences

by Roma Gans - 1942

Guiding Children’s Reading Through Experiences has been written for the express purpose of fulfilling this need for detailed, concrete help in teaching reading in an experience curriculum.

MUCH progress has been made in developing a new outlook regarding curriculum based upon pupil experiences which are as varied as a complex life presents. Naturally a new outlook calls for a reinterpretation of the place of reading in such a life-inclusive curriculum.1 Already a general understanding of the larger purposes and common functions of reading exists, but much more help is needed by the teacher and others responsible for planning work with children in dealing with the daily, continuous reading growth of pupils.

Guiding Children’s Reading Through Experiences has been written for the express purpose of fulfilling this need for detailed, concrete help in teaching reading in an experience curriculum.

Five major goals in the reading program are described with concrete examples in the first chapter. These goals are necessary in guiding the daily work in order to give continuity and adequate breadth of function to the reading experiences of boys and girls of all ages, both in and out of school. A teacher must help each pupil to become increasingly independent in (1) knowing when to read, (2) knowing how to select what to read to fit his purpose, (3) reading the selected material skillfully, (4) appraising the content in terms of his purpose for reading it, and (5) using, when appropriate, the ideas gained from reading. The total function of reading in the life of pupils at a given time and the long-range view of its future use in enriched living can only be kept clearly in mind in the daily guidance of pupils through the aid of goals such as these five.

Many teachers who are working toward a curriculum which will guide boys and girls to study problems of importance to them and who realize the significant relationship of reading to rich and satisfactory living are hampered by a lack of specific understanding in meeting the day-by-day situations. From the many difficulties confronting primary and upper grade teachers in guiding children's reading, five were selected and concrete suggestions offered for dealing with them. These suggestions, it is hoped, will serve as a springboard for teachers to devise other and more appropriate ways of meeting the reading needs of their pupils.

The first of these problem areas is found in the responsibility for developing reading readiness and in guiding the first reading experiences. Suggestions are offered concerning the variety of experiences which groups and individual pupils may engage in, ways in which language and reading function in these experiences, the selection and arrangement of materials and equipment, the planning of the daily program, children's first writing, and the guidance and function of oral reading.

A second common source of difficulty for teachers of older pupils as well as younger ones is the development of independence in reading through the use of word-recognition techniques which aid rather than detract from reading comprehension. Examples are given which illustrate the stimulation of interest in words, and the use of techniques that aid pupils to recognize words at sight, by clues and by phonetic analysis. These suggestions are for teachers of all age pupils, for the development of adequate word-recognition techniques must be continuous in the elementary reading program if pupils are to grow to their full reading maturity.

Examples are presented which will add to the teacher's understanding of the needs of pupils in developing deep and accurate comprehension and will aid the teacher in being better equipped to meet these needs. Specific situations are described which illustrate how in primary as well as upper grades a critical type of reading comprehension is developed and how the most common difficulties which pupils encounter in comprehension are met.

The problem over which most teachers are constantly worried—the pupil whose reading progress is slow—is discussed at length and more specific proposals which can be used by classroom teachers are included. These suggestions are intentionally non-technical because where slow learners are regular members of a group a teacher who guides their reading progress must use ways of working with them which are understandable and at the same rime effective.

Suggestions for evaluating the reading growth of individuals and the effectiveness of the entire reading program are offered. The use of inventories and observations, the keeping of records, and the selection and use of tests in harmony with the major goals of the reading program are described with sufficient examples and details to be of practical use to teachers.

1 By ROMA GANS. Practical Suggestions for Teaching, Monograph No. 3 (Hollis L. Caswell, Editor). Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 43 Number 5, 1942, p. 402-404
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 9105, Date Accessed: 1/22/2022 9:32:44 PM

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