Two Systems that Children Need to Understand:

Surface Structure Systems
A. Grapho-Phonic
  • letter/sound knowledge;
  • phonemic awareness
  • decoding
B. Lexical
  • visual word recognition
  • visual memory for words
C. Syntactic
  • language structure at the word, sentence and text level

Deep Structure Systems
A. Semantic
  • word meanings/associations; precision in word usage
B. Schematic
  • constructing meaning at the whole text level; prior knowledge that governs storage and retrieval of information
C. Pragmatic
  • social construction of meaning, reading and writing for specific purposes and audiences – adopting the social mores of a reader/writer, reading and writing habitually

In K-2 Classrooms, 50% of instruction should be spent on Surface Structure Systems and 50% on Deep Structure Systems
In 3-6 Classrooms, 20% of instruction should be spent on Surface Structure Systems and 80% on Deep Structure Systems

Strategies for Solving Word Problems and Reading Fluently (Identifying and Pronouncing Words, Reading Fluently Orally)
  • Using context
  • Visual word recognition strategies including use of environmental print
  • Word analysis strategies such as prefixes, suffixes, compound words and word derivations
  • Text management strategies such as rereading/reading ahead, deep reading, skimming/scanning
  • Decoding strategies such as identifying word families, chunking, point & slide, looking for known words inside words
  • Cross check across systems (does the word make sense, sound like language, do the letters match the sounds) or ask another reader

Cognitive Strategies for Comprehending (probing Ideas and extending meaning, reading deeply)
  • Monitoring for Meaning
  • Determining Importance
  • Creating Mental Images
  • Synthesising
  • Relating new to known (schema) - text to self, text to text, text to world
  • Questioning
  • Inferring

Helping Students Understand Text Structures and Organisation

A. Narrative Text
  • Character
  • Setting
  • Plot structure (orientation to character, setting, conflict introduction, rising action, climax, resolution)
  • Narrative technique - development of ideas through action, dialogue
  • Use of foreshadowing, parallel plot structure, flashback and flash forward
  • Word - choice, diction, phrasing, voice
  • Powerful leads; surprise endings
  • Techniques in poetry

B. Expository Text
  • Cause and effect
  • Chronology
  • Problem/solution
  • Vocabulary and concept load
  • Text layout and organisation
  • Text features - diagrams, pictures, captions, graphs, etc

C. Distinguishing among genres; applying reading strategies differently depending the genre