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The Big Five Approach to Effective Reading Instruction

by Andi Diaz on December 4, 2019

Research shows that focusing on the “Big Five” is an effective and critical approach to teaching reading. We explored the history of this approach in an earlier post, discussing why it’s effective to build on reading skills for the best foundation.

So what does effective reading instruction look like under this approach?

“It starts with curriculum,” says William Fahle, PhD, Senior Vice President of Development Research at Istation. “The right reading curriculum will follow the framework of the Big Five.”

“It is possible to create curricula which focus on specific areas of the Big Five and deliver that to the students who need it on an individual basis,” Fahle explained. “Students learn better when the material is appropriate to their level of understanding.”

Istation Reading is an adaptive curriculum that leads students through the sequence of the Big Five. The platform includes a full library of tools and lesson plans aimed at addressing each phase of development.

Students begin by mastering phonemic awareness through activities that teach them to identify, segment, and blend sounds. Next, they learn the letters of the alphabet and their related sounds in order to become proficient in letter knowledge and decoding. After that, they move on to developing fluency with text and building reading comprehension. The final stage focuses on growing student vocabulary.

“The goal of the approach — and the platform — is to nurture reading skills and establish habits of learning,” says Wytonia Montgomery, a strategic professional development specialist for Istation.

“The student continues to learn, acquires vocabulary and critical thinking skills, and becomes a proficient reader who explores a freedom to learn,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is to develop competent learners ready for college and the workforce.”

Want to learn more about how to boost reading comprehension and growth?

Download the white paper “Boost Outcomes with the Big Five,” covering what students need for current learning demands and lifelong personal growth.

Plus, be on the lookout for more on the Big Five and the science of reading with Istation’s Science of Reading: The Conversation, a dynamic three-part web series coming in January 2020!

Download the Whitepaper