What is the Scarborough Rope Model for learning?

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    The Scarborough Rope is the perfect model for your child’s literacy development, and here’s why.

    Our capacity for decoding and reading written words isn’t enough for us to be considered literate. Instead, to be a skilled reader, one must know words, and more importantly — their meanings. For all this to fall in place, a person must combine vocabulary, language structure, and verbal reasoning. The Scarborough Rope model, one of the most widely used instructional strategies by educators for developing proficient readers, makes all of this possible. So, allow us to introduce this idea to you in the few paragraphs that follow.

    Understanding Hollis Scarborough’s rope model for reading and language comprehension

    Ever since Dr. Hollis Scarborough’s reading rope was published in the Handbook of Early Literacy Research by Guilford Press, more and more children have been developing their reading skills with less trouble. Moreover, this model has become a standard, but not just because it helps young learners. What it also does is helps teachers and educators as well.

    In essence, the Scarborough Rope consists of the lower strand, which is word recognition, and the upper strand, which is language comprehension. Nevertheless, both the word recognition and the language comprehension strands are made up of other sections. They interact with each other to deliver skilled reading. Yet, if any of them is left uncared for, everything can fall apart.

    Why Scarborough’s Reading Rope is important

    To understand why Scarborough’s reading program is important, we must first discuss the science of reading. Namely, it focuses on language comprehension, phonic instructions, phonemes, phonemic awareness, teaching reading, and many other word recognition skills and trades.

    The main objective of the science of reading is to provide us with infographics of how we as humans develop and use reading and writing skills. As such, it also focuses on disabilities, such as dyslexia and other impaired decoding skills.

    The Scarborough Reading Model is a program that intends to provide help with reading disabilities and is in itself an efficient method of overcoming them. From providing reading instructions to improving overall reading fluency, it’s a much-needed aid for young English language learners.

    The two main strands of skilled reading in Scarborough’s Rope

    As mentioned, the Scarborough program consists of two strands of the rope. The first one we’ll dissect is language comprehension. It’s made up of five separate parts, each of the same importance for developing proper linguistic skills at an early age. After this, we’ll focus on word recognition. So, let’s check them out, shall we?

    Language comprehension

    Background knowledge is the first part of the language comprehension strand, and it suggests that educators use reading as just a single component of a somewhat bigger lesson, regardless of the subject. By doing so, the kids will acquire a deeper understanding of the subject while also upping their literacy skills.

    Next up, we have vocabulary. Those with a better vocabulary can read more books and find enjoyment in them. The thing is, with better reading skills, the better the chances of a person picking up another book. Conversely, it’s a chore to keep reading when you have to pause each minute to look up a word and check its meaning and then go back to reading again.

    The third strand of language comprehension is language structure, and it’s focused on word order (syntax) and semantics (the meaning of the text). In English, semantics and word order can create meaning and change it depending on the set-up of each sentence, thus youngsters need to learn this on time and utilize it from an early age.

    Another section is verbal reasoning. It refers to understanding that words can be used literally and figuratively through metaphors, analogies, idioms, and others. Of course, most of this comes along as children age, but school education on this subject can be useful.

    Lastly, we have literacy knowledge. This part is all about children being exposed to different genres and styles of literature. It suggests that a curriculum should include everything from fiction to poetry. Any of these can improve a child’s literacy skills, and will also provide a hefty dose of fun.

    Word recognition

    The word recognition strand has three separate parts to it. The first is phonological awareness, which suggests that words consist of different sounds. The best illustration of this is how children first learn to speak before they learn to read. They pick up on sounds and combine them to make words.

    Decoding is the second part of this strand. It discusses topics including silent letters, letter blends, and phonics. Children who are good at decoding can sound out every word they see, even if they don’t know what the words on a page mean.

    Thirdly, we have sight words. Because of their frequent use, it makes more sense to teach kids to recognize some words at first glance. The fundamental concept behind sight recognition is this. As a result, this strategy is now used in almost all early primary classrooms nationwide, making it a widely used methodology.

    Other ways educators can teach reading

    Although it might not seem like it, there are other successful ways to teach young students reading. Some are old school, others more advanced, but they all get the job done to some degree.

    Audiobooks

    Audiobooks are a great way to help children fall in love with reading and improve their skills pretty early on. By listening to print concepts and following along with a physical copy of a book, a child will sooner rather than later get a full grasp of how reading works. They will also have fun along the way, which is even more important if you want to keep them engaged in what they are doing.

    Use assistive technology to help children with learning disorders improve word recognition skills

    Another option is to use assistive technology such as text-to-speech apps. For example, Speechify—the world’s number one TTS app—can read aloud any text a young student has in front of them in a fully natural-sounding voice, which will teach them proper pronunciation and delivery. It will also increase their reading comprehension and will ensure their professional development.

    Reading pens

    Similarly to the previous two, reading pens can increase your child’s reading skills pretty early on. These are scanners that the young students use to slide across passages of text, and the device reads aloud what’s on the page. Although they aren’t as efficient at teaching kids semantics and phonics as Scarborough, H’s program, they are recognized as helpful by the International Dyslexia Association just like TTS apps.

    FAQs

    How are the Simple View of Reading and Scarborough’s Rope related?

    Just like the Simple View of Reading, the Scarborough Rope emphasizes the importance of language comprehension and word recognition for someone to be considered literate and fluent in their language.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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