The Scarborough Reading Rope, developed by Dr. Hollis Scarborough, is an important visual tool for elementary school teachers and content developers. The Scarborough Reading Rope is divided into two strands: word recognition and language comprehension. As the two strands intertwine, the end result is a skilled and fluent reader who can accurately read words quickly with expression and understand what they are reading. In this blog, we will examine the components of Scarborough’s Reading Rope, explore its practical uses in the classroom, and discuss why it is an essential tool for teachers and educational content developers.
The word-recognition strand of the Scarborough Reading Rope is designed to teach students how to identify and decode words. This strand consists of three components: phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition of familiar words. Phonological awareness involves the understanding of sounds in words. It helps students learn to recognize, segment, blend, and manipulate sounds in words. Decoding involves learning to decode unfamiliar words by combining letter-sound relationships. This is likely what you picture when you think of an early reader starting to sound out words letter by letter. Sight recognition of familiar words involves recognizing whole words, without having to decode them, by memory. Fluency involves the ability to accurately read words quickly with expression. Each of these components is important for helping students develop strong literacy skills.
The language-comprehension strand of the Scarborough Reading Rope is designed to teach students how to comprehend language. This strand consists of five components: background knowledge, vocabulary, language structures, verbal reasoning, and literacy knowledge. Background knowledge involves knowing information that is relevant to a text, such as the context or setting, before reading the text. For example, previously knowing about the constellations would likely help a reader understand a fictional story about early ocean explorers. Vocabulary involves knowing the meanings of words and how they are used in various contexts. Having to stop every couple of sentences to look up a word can take the joy out of reading and make it a more frustrating experience. Language structures involve understanding how words are put together to form sentences and paragraphs. Verbal reasoning refers to making connections between ideas within a text and understanding how words are figurative and literal. Literacy knowledge involves understanding how texts are structured and organized and being able to use this knowledge when reading a text.
Practical Uses of the Scarborough Reading Rope
The elements of Scarborough’s Reading Rope can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. For example, teachers can use it to create activities that help students learn to identify and decode words. Activities such as word sorts or rhyming games can be used to build phonological awareness skills, while activities such as sentence scrambles or word searches can be used to practice decoding skills. Teachers can also use the Scarborough Reading Rope to help students build their language comprehension skills by incorporating activities such as story mapping or summarizing into their lesson plans.
Content developers can refer to Scarborough’s Reading Rope when creating lessons and passages. For instance, they can create assignments that focus on building students’ literacy skills by utilizing components from both the word-recognition and language-comprehension strands. They can also develop lesson plans that utilize the Scarborough Reading Rope to assess student progress and measure their reading proficiency.
The Scarborough Reading Rope is a helpful tool for the classroom, as it provides a comprehensive framework to help teachers assess student reading proficiency and understanding of language. By utilizing components from both the word-recognition and language-comprehension strands, teachers can identify where struggling readers might need more help. Content developers can also use Scarborough’s Reading Rope when creating lessons.The Scarborough Reading Rope is one of the many tools that CSA Education’s ELA team and SMEs consider when creating decodable books, instructional materials, and other content for early readers. To learn more about our ELA projects or Content Development services, feel free to message us.