I once sent my sister a text saying, “Good for you” in response to her text telling me that she was taking some holiday time and going away for the week. My reply was intended to be congratulatory: a ‘well done’ for making time for herself after what had been a difficult few months. I later discovered that my sister read the text and inferred a very different message:  a begrudging congratulations for being able to take a week off when the rest of us weren’t in a position to do so. Now, clearly, there weren’t many clues in my brief reply to aid understanding or to indicate the spirit in which it was sent, leaving it open to any interpretation that the reader decided to place on it, so I have to take responsibility for the misunderstanding. 

How differently might my text have been received had I finished with an exclamation mark to demonstrate my surprise and excitement? Perhaps if I had added a second sentence: “ I’m so pleased that you are taking time for yourself!” she would have understood my intention better.

So why am I telling you this story? For me, it demonstrates the importance of being able to read with fluency, understanding context, grammatical structures, literary features and punctuation in creating deeper understanding. 

The technical term for this is ‘prosody’: the bringing together of all the elements of fluent reading with expression, to achieve a more complete and accurate picture of what the passage is trying to communicate. Our English lessons are designed to develop a student’s understanding of four of the key elements needed for this deeper understanding to happen, so do encourage your child to watch these lessons and see how much they can improve their understanding of the books they read.

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