Building blocks of literacy

In the Elementary Literacy chapter, we begin to look at some of the elements of reading instruction. The authors place these “building blocks” into three categories: decoding, fluency, and comprehension. Nevertheless, they emphasize that these processes work interdependently as students read. I created a graphic that attempts to represent the relationships between these building blocks as parts of a “literacy house.”

literacy-graphicWhen one enters the first floor of the house, the first elements that are encountered are book handling and phonological awareness. These types of skills can be caught concurrently and they are prerequisites for concepts of print and phonics, respectively, which are depicted as connecting rooms. After one has a solid grasp on phonics, the next decoding skill, or room, is structural analysis.

Fluency is represented by the staircase that connects the decoding floor to the comprehension floor. Decoding skills are necessary for fluency, which enables comprehension. The three sequential rooms on this floor indicate the different levels of comprehension ordered by relative difficulty. Background knowledge (“ways of taking”) is symbolized as the roof which encompasses, or mediates, the entire house.

This image is a work in progress. There are several issues that I was unable to resolve. For instance, I couldn’t find a place where vocabulary seemed to fit. Also, this model aligns closely to the learning to read/ reading to learn framework which some theorists in the “era of engaged learning” find outdated. I toyed around with using other elements of the house to represent comprehension (e.g. walls, roof), but ultimately settled with this design that depicts tiers of comprehension and also clearly shows the relationship between fluency and the other building blocks. I will be interested to see how I am inclined to modify this graphic as the course progresses.


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