Graduation Speech : A Secondary School English Teacher

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As a secondary school English teacher starting a new school year, there is a curiosity about student readers in the classroom. Year after year without fail it seems that when the question is asked, “How many of you are readers?” only a few hands go up. Accompanying those timid responses are comments around the room like “I hate to read,” or “Last time I read an entire book was in sixth grade when the teacher read to us.” The consensus among educational professionals and researchers is that the problem is not, in most cases, laziness or a lack of good reading material, but the difficulty for students to comprehend what they are reading. As a result of this, many students do not like to read because reading is work and not enjoyable. According to the National Reading Panel (2000), there are five major goals of reading that will bring about successful readers. Those goals include: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. When referring to adolescent-aged students, the area of reading most likely to be addressed will focus on fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. If these areas are addressed successfully, most students can be taught to enjoy reading. Phonemic awareness and phonics instruction are provided in the emergent literacy and decoding stage of reading development and are followed by the confirmation and fluency stage as named in Chall’s 2004 study (McCardle and Chhabra, 2004). The confirmation and fluency stage is a consolidation and

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