Are you all E.A.R.S when you’re ready? You’re probably wondering what that even means. If you know anything about reading, then you know reading entails many skills that children have to develop: decoding, fluency, comprehension, rhythm, and much more.
As an early childhood educator, I know how important it is to develop reading skills in lower elementary to eliminate or minimize the challenges that children experience in upper elementary and beyond. A great start is to implement the acronym E.A.R.S, strategies that I’ve used for years but never had a cute name for it. You can purchase the text The Megabook of Fluency by Timothy V. Rasinski to learn more about reading fluency as the author dives more into the acronym. Anyhow, let’s get right into E.A.R.S!
When you read to your child, it’s important to read with expression. We use expressions in our day to day conversation, therefore, we must do the same when reading to reflect and expand on the meaning of text. Reading in a monotone voice will never convey the meaning of the text, so get creative, put on an Oscar winning hat and give your best performance. And besides, children love when you read with enthusiasm. They will eventually become readers and read with expression to show emotion and feelings (tone). And don’t be afraid to read with emphasis. Some words need emphasis to convey a specific meaning.
Automatic Word Recognition
Reading fluency comes with the ability to quickly recognize. Once it becomes automatic, the child is able to read with a certain amount of speed to move through a text. You may have heard of it as reading automaticity. Reading with automaticity supports a child’s comprehension because they recognize the word automatically, thus, allowing them to focus on comprehending what they are reading. As you read this, you are quickly reading through because the words are automatic for you, so your focus now is simply to comprehend what you are reading. If a child is spending a considerable amount of time to decode words, they will lose the comprehension component.
Rhythm and Phrasing
Reading requires you to find a good rhythm because it also helps with comprehension. Have you ever read something without chunking the sentence correctly and it didn’t make sense? What did you do? You probably went back to read it again with appropriate chunking so it made sense. Also, when you read, don’t be afraid to use punctuations appropriately. Commas are your best friend. Sometimes a pause is required because omitting a pause changes the meaning and ultimately hinders comprehension. For example: I ate grandma. Vs. I ate, grandma. There’s a whole new meaning with a simple comma.
The ability to accurately decode words regardless of the speed they read. This may sound similar to the above (Automatic Word Recognition). With that, the focus is automaticity and speed. When it comes to smoothness, it’s not so much the speed, the focus is: can the child decode the words accurately AND are they able to self correct when an error is made.
How Can You Help Your Child?
Wondering how you can help your child or students with all of the above? Simple:
Hi, I am Odessa. I'm a mom of two wonderful children and a teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Science in Childhood Education with over 10 years of PreK and Kindergarten experience. I am a lover of all things literacy for children and their curiosity of the world. Get comfy and click around my site. I hope you find something you'll like, and something your kids will love! P.S. Akwaaba means 'welcome' :)
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