How to Effectively Teach Reading

The 7 Pillars of Effective Reading

1. Teacher Knowledge

Effective teachers approach their instruction with the important knowledge in mind that the basic skills of reading must be learned in order to build up effective readers. Research reveals that teacher knowledge has a beneficial impact on the quality of their instruction and student learning. What teachers know and do in their classrooms matters more now than it has in the past.

2. Classroom Assessment

This refers to the observations, record keeping, and ongoing performance measures that a teacher uses to gather information about each student's reading progress. These measures can help a teacher identify a child's abilities and plan future instruction based on those abilities.

3. Evidence-Based Teaching Practices

Highly effective reading instruction programs focus on 4 main areas:


  • Classroom Management - The organization and supervision of the classroom to maximize learning
  • Teaching Instructional Essentials - Oral language development, sight word recognition, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing/spelling, etc.
  • Designing Highly Interactive Classroom Environments - Treating classroom walls as a creative palette for aesthetically pleasing but also instructionally useful displays
  • Supporting Reading with Evidence Based Techniques - Providing support using techniques and practices that have proven to work in the past

4. Response to Intervention (RTI)

All students are initially screened to determine their progress in achieving established literacy benchmark skills, objectives, and standards. They are then placed on the Response to Intervention (RTI) scale and given the appropriate services in order to succeed.

5. Motivation and Engagement

How to Encourage Children to Read | Reading Lessons

6. Technology and New Literacies

New literacy studies have been defined as "the skills, strategies, and insights necessary to successfully exploit the rapidly changing information and communication technologies that continuously emerge in our world." (Leu, 2002.)


McKenna and colleagues recommend the use of new technology for a variety of purposes, from crafting multimedia reports to presenting sight world lessons to first-grade students.


New literacies extend the teacher by offering students technologically driven practice of reading skills, concepts, and strategies via CD, DVD, and online media and "virtual" teachers. Reading teachers today will need to learn how to use and seamlessly integrate NLs into their daily reading and writing instruction.

7. Family and Community Connections

It has been found that 80% of student learning occurs outside of school. It is very important that parents sit and help their child gain the reading skills that they need for the rest of their life. Parents can make powerful contributions to their children's success in early literacy learning.


Teachers who can reach out to parents and homes are vital to young children's progress in learning to read successfully.