What is a Reader?

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by bcarbery
Last updated 5 years ago

Elementary School
Beginning Readers

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What is a Reader?

Teacher #4 A reader looks like a child that can pick up a book and start reading the words on the pages and comprehending what was said/read. They know where to start and the correct direction to continue on. A reader can use clues to decode words they have difficulty with, as in looking at the picture, word chunking and sounding out letter sounds.

Teacher #2An engaged reader chooses an appropriately leveled book that interests them and while reading they use numerous strategies independently and simultaneously (such as picture clues, decoding words, inferring, predicting, etc.) in order to gain meaning from and comprehend the text.

Teacher #3There are different stages of a reader. A pre-reader knows how to hold a book and turn pages correctly. They might recite memorized text. An emergent reader is going to start putting their knowledge of letters and sounds to use. They will read words they recognize. A reader is going to choose books that interest them and use strategies to decipher unknown words. They will be able to retell what was read and answer questions based on their reading.

What Is a Reader?


Teacher #1 A reader is one who reads for understanding and uses that understanding to build knowledge about the world around them. It then becomes a cycle...get knowledge and understanding from reading and in turn understanding that more learning (knowledge) can be sought through reading.

Teacher #5 Being a reader means to value books and text for enjoyment and/or a purpose. Being a reader means to comprehend what you're reading by being actively involved in what you are reading by asking questions, making inferences, and even challenging what you've read. Fluency, accuracy, and comprehension are critical components for advancing as a reader, but the love of reading is essential to being a lifelong reader.

This was an interesting challenge for me. I surveyed teachers from multiple grade levels in a couple different school districts and was surprised by the similarities in their answers. They all agreed that the goal of a reader was knowledge or comprehension. While the primary grades teachers, agreed that a reader was one that seamlessly used multiple strategies in their reading, the upper grades teachers added in the aspects of fluency and accuracy. None of the teachers characterized readers by a number or reading level and one characterized reading as a cycle of learning to read and then reading to learn. Even though several of the readings point to enjoyment and love of reading being essential to being a lifelong reader, only one teacher added that to her definition of a reader. This tells me that this needs to be emphasized to teachers more.


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