This resource book presents sets of instructional strategies for beginning reading and is specifically and carefully designed for classroom teachers to use with students who are at-risk for reading difficulties, including dyslexia. When students struggle with learning to read, they need additional instruction that is focused on the areas causing them difficulty. These areas, the “big ideas” of beginning reading and literacy, include the concepts and principles that facilitate the most efficient and broadest acquisition of knowledge (Carnine, 1994). The big ideas of reading and literacy are: phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness; alphabetic understanding; fluency; vocabulary; and comprehension [National Reading Panel (NRP), 2000].
Not all curriculum objectives and related instructional activities contribute equally to academic development, especially in reading (Carnine, 1994). This book does not try to cover the full range of knowledge and skills addressed in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). It does focus on the big ideas that enable students to translate the alphabetic code into meaningful language. When students have difficulty learning to read, it is important for instruction to target the fundamental skills and strategies necessary for them to learn to read. Big ideas go beyond just exposing students to content; big ideas cover the strategies and content with the highest impact on learning to read.