Researchers have shown that good readers integrate the cueing systems and focus on meaning—that children who become proficient readers and writers use all of the cueing systems relatively simultaneously and are not overly reliant on one method (Clay, 1991; Hughes, 2011; Johnson & Keier, 2010; Keene, 2008).
Cueing systems are sets of cues or clues built into the structure and patterns of the English language. They are called systems because the English language is systematic in the ways that English language is used to communicate. Here are some examples of the ways in which English is systematic:
- Words are ordered to create meaning
- Letters and sounds are related
- Punctuation is used
This integrated use of the cueing systems suggests the need for comprehensive literacy instruction. However, the relative importance of skills influencing reading comprehension changes over time. In early childhood, word reading abilities have a greater influence on early reading comprehension. As word reading skills develop, language skills begin to have a greater influence on reading comprehension. Therefore, from a very early age, instruction must include attention to both word reading and language comprehension skills in order to facilitate the development of advanced comprehension (Adlof, Perfetti, & Catts, 2011). In addition to a focus on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension as outlined by the National Reading Panel Report (Adler, 2001), instruction must also attend to motivation, composition, oral language, and critical thinking (Gambrell, Malloy, & Mazzoni, 2011).
Adler, C. R. (Ed.). (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. Jessup, MD: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA) and National Institute for Literacy (NIFL).
Adlof, S. M., Perfetti, C. A., & Catts, H. W. (2011). Developmental changes in reading comprehension: Implications for assessment and instruction. In S. J. Samuels & A. E. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (4th ed., pp. 186-214). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Clay, M. (1991). Becoming literate: The construction of inner control. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Gambrell, L. B., Malloy, J. A., &., Mazzoni, S. A. (2011). Evidence-based best practices in comprehensive literacy instruction. In L. M. Morrow & L. B. Gambrell (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (4th ed., pp. 11-36). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Hughes, A. (2011). Teaching reading in English as a foreign language to young learners: A global reflection. In S. J. Samuels & A. E. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (4th ed., pp. 315-358). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Johnson, P., & Keier, K. (2010). Catch readers before they fall: Supporting readers who struggle, k-4. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Keene, E. (2008). To understand: New horizons in reading comprehension. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.