10-second review: Children can learn to read partly by listening to taped books and reading along with them.
Title: “The Clip Sheet: Imitative Reading.” P. Cunningham. Reading Teacher (October 1979), 81-83.
Quote: “Imitative reading requires a book and accompanying read-along record or tape (commercially or teacher-produced). The teacher may select the book or let the child select it, but the book (especially in the beginning) should be fairly easy to read. The teacher sets up a listening area and tells the reader to ‘listen to the taped book and try to read along. When you can read the whole book (or chapter) to me, I will let you start on another book.’ In the beginning, many teachers require that the reader listen to the book at least twice a day. As the reader realizes that s/he can indeed learn to read the book, s/he is generally anxious to listen and often chooses to spend all free time listening and practicing.
“When the reader comes to the teacher and declares, ‘I can read this book,’ the teacher, without looking at a copy of the book, listens to the child read. It is important that the teacher not follow along as the child reads because, by not knowing what the exact words are, the teacher will correct only for ‘dumb’ errors, those which disrupt the flow or change the meaning of the story. ‘Smart’ errors (can’t for cannot, big for large) are made by all fluent readers as their eyes move ahead of their voices. By not knowing what the exact words are, the teacher will be listening only for meaning and fluency and will encourage fluent reading. If the child reads the book fluently, another book is selected and the process begins again.” P. 81.
Comment: Children learn a lot from imitating. I learned to shoot jump shots by watching Paul Arizin playing basketball for Villanova on television. And I became pretty good at it, too. Sounds like a promising practice in reading. Except that the method reminds me, uncomfortably, of the “Think System,” in which the young boys learn to play instruments by memorizing the sounds of the Minuet in G. in The Music Man.” RayS.