Teaching Reading in the Primary Grades

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Ell, Marie
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This literature review discusses the importance of research-based instruction in reading in the primary grades and how to build a reading framework based on the research to help struggling readers. After briefly discussing the history of reading instruction with the emphasis on phonics versus the whole word method, the author discusses the findings of the National Reading Panel. This panel identified phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary as the foundation of reading instruction. The panel also mentioned technology as a promising reading instruction method. The author then discusses these five ‘pillars' of reading instruction in conjunction with good teaching practices as identified by Pressley in 2001. The findings of this review are that the five ‘pillars' are important but in differing degrees, that technology is motivating for students, and that a knowledgeable and excellent teacher makes a huge difference in student achievement. The author then develops a reading framework based on the research findings and provides an example of how this would look in the classroom.