Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HELPS for fluency and comprehension: Oral reading rides again!

HICP/EHIEP is based on extensive fluent (haptically-anchored) oral reading both in class and as homework. In general, in reading education the value of oral reading had been played down for a number of reasons, among them a focus on the false dichotomy between language comprehension and language production--and the priority of the former. HELPS appears to bring that process back into perspective for beginning readers at least. On the face of it, the application to pronunciation work is striking.

The key claim is that developing oral reading fluency first can greatly enhance reading comprehension. Granted, that is part of an entire reading system that includes all the usual components, but the relative balance and ordering of priorities is intriguing. Notice the basic steps in the process the instructor uses (You'll have to watch both videos 1 and 2.) Then try this "simple" system sometime, sticking to the same dozen steps or so, with one of your students (with an appropriate text!)  In many respects it is not all that different from that used in EHIEP when working with an extended, practice conversational text. You will almost certainly find that watching this video "helps!" (Note: The link to the youtube video is in the title of the post, not off the HELPS logo.)

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