Some of the fundamental Language Skills and Cognitive Abilities needed to be a proficient Reader and Writer were mentioned in Linguistic Foundation’s most recent Blog on March 4th. These are not the only skills a student needs (Attention is another important example) but the Reading and Writing processes depend on these skills and abilities working together.
Language Skills Cognitive Abilities
*Phonological Awareness *Retrieval
*Vocabulary *Working Memory
*Knowledge of Sentences *Organizational Skills
Blogs from October 29th, November 13th, and December 12th related directly to Phonological Awareness. Retrieval will be the described in this Blog.
Retrieval refers to a person’s ability to access and ‘pull up’ information that she knows. A lot is being learned about Retrieval and how it relates to reading and writing development.
A form of Retrieval that is being found to be crucial to all Readers is sometimes called Rapid Naming. Rapid Naming describes how well a student can automatically name (or label) familiar items such as letters or numbers. A student should be able to name these items that she knows from a page automatically without having to think about it. A student who struggles with this ability has to actively think about the name for each item, which takes time and energy.
A student naming a group of letters or numbers from a list is not the same as reading. However, the ability to complete an activity like this is related to some important Reading Skills. A student who seems to take longer time to ‘learn’ letters of the alphabet, the sounds of the letters, and even sight words may actually have a weakness in Retrieval. It may be that that she recognizes the letters/sounds and sight words but has difficulty bringing the names for these pieces of information to the surface to say them. An example is a student who has to ‘sound out’ the word have each time she sees it in a story; she may simply not easily recall the name of this sight word.
A way that I think about it is like this:
Naming letters, saying sounds, and reading sight words should automatically come to mind in the same way that a fishing bobber might rise to the surface and float on water. All that you need to do is look at it and recognize it. For a student who struggles to Retrieve, the ‘bobber’ (the name of the letter, the sound, or sight word) does not rise to the surface; instead she has to put her hand in the water to find it and get it (like the word have from the example above). It takes a lot more time and energy to do it this way.
Being able to read well depends on moving along across a page sort-of effortlessly. This way, a student does not have to spend energy reading words. Instead, she can concentrate on the meaning of the text she is reading. A student with a Retrieval or Rapid Naming weakness is always searching to name the sounds and sight words that she actually knows in order to read the words. It can really slow the reading process down and will heavily affect how she can understand what she reads. This Retrieval weakness, of course, can have long-term affects – long after a student has ‘learned to read’ in the early grades.
If you have any questions about this complicated and subtle thinking ability, please feel free to contact Linguistic Foundations. We are happy to speak with you have about this topic, along with any questions you may have. We can also give you more information about our test process if you are trying to learn more about your child's learning. Thank you very much!