Mastering the fundamentals of reading is critical for a child to become an avid reader. Fundamentals, meaning letters names, sounds, and segmenting a word. If you have a second, or third grader this may seem crazy to review letter sounds and chunks of letters, however if a student doesn't master the correct sounds or have misconceptions it can lead to major road blocks in the future. Instead of Compass or Lexia, I have found two alternatives that focus on the mastery of the fundamentals and building upon them rather than reviewing and jumping to a new skill. Both are free to use on a computer. There is a one time log in access code for Lalilo: YATFSX. Lalilo is sound based program meaning students must rely on what they hear and apply it. Teach Your Monster to Read is more of a game where the student must teach their "monster" what letters, sounds, and segmentation's are. This program is very game driven. Both are great additions to your nightly reading practice.
Recently your child has made a game "Hunks & Chunks" game bag. Inside the bag you will find everything you need to play four games that can strengthen your child's reading decoding skills tremendously. These “Hunk & Chunk” cards represent some of the most commonly blended sounds we see in words. Please take a few minutes each night (or as often as possible) to go over these flashcards with your child. If a student is able to recognize these “sounds” automatically, they are able to decode unknown words more quickly and the smoothness of their reading greatly improves. Being a more fluent reader will also improve your child’s understanding of what they read. This is a great way to have fun with your student while practicing skills they need sharpening.
Go Fish Game: There are 2 of every chunk in the baggie. Use the cards for a fun game of “Go Fish!” Your child will know how to play as we modeled how to play in class.
Memory Match: Lay all the cards out face down on a table and take turns choosing two cards trying to find matching sounds.
Quick Drills: Use a timer and see how long it takes your child to get through all of the cards successfully. Just use one set of cards for this activity. Remember, I have enclosed a “Hunk & Chunk Master” so that you as parents will be familiar with the “Chunks” and the way that we teach them.
Trace Race: Using a sensory type material (sand, rice, carpet, sandpaper, shaving cream) have your student trace with their finger the letters the “Hunk & Chunk” sound you call out. To check for accuracy make a pile of cards they correctly trace into the sensory material. If they miss a sound or trace the sound incorrectly place those cards in a different pile. When all the cards are gone review the incorrect pile to improve accuracy. *adding a smell of some sort with the texture is a bonus for sensory type learning. (citrus, peppermint, rosemary, basil)
While searching on Pinterest for a few out of the box letter recognition activities today I found this Hole Punching Activity. Don't worry there is an option to not have millions of dots all over your house. The creator made strips of scrambled letters with a picture of a noun and the identifying letter in bold. The object of the activity is to hole punch (or color) every letter that matches the picture or bold identifying letter.
For those students that are beyond letter recognition, there is a Site Word Hole Punching Activity that follows the same idea. There are even a few blank strips that allow you to write in words that your student may need a little extra practice with. Oh and did I mention.... they are both FREE. Simply download, print and punch!
So I came across an email I received from "The Thinker Builder" and it was just too good not to share. The email discusses how stepping in to a book as a character and perceiving their thoughts and emotions can sometime change you comprehension of a story. The email also explained that stepping out of a book and thinking why did an author took the direction they did in the story. Perception is a huge enrichment and deep thinking skill that can always strengthened no matter the grade level or age.
The idea of "Step In" refers to asking students to step in to the world of the story to analyze the choices made by a character. Use these anchor questions to get students stepping into the text:
The mini-anchor charts in the picture make handy little references during a guided reading session
The classic children's picture book Stellaluna by Janell Cannon is a great book to read and discuss with your child for deeper understanding. There are countless free resources on this book online to explore.
This is the heartwarming story of a fruit bat that makes a home with a family of birds after she is separated from her mother. Kids will learn about the different characteristics of birds and bats as they enjoy this story about friendship, compromise, and acceptance.
Great questions to discuss with your child while enjoying this book:
What does Stellaluna learn about herself and her bird friends when she loses her mother?
Stellaluna learns that she can make friends with birds who are different from her, and she learns that she can use her “bat” instincts to help her friends.
What is this story trying to teach us?
Even though we have many differences, we can still be friends and learn from one another.
Below you can click and download different activities that can be used to strengthen your child's thinking and interpretation of the story.
Don't have the book or access to a hard copy? You can also find a YouTube read aloud of the book with illustrations below.
The Phonics Dance Philosophy
-By Author/Creator Virginia Dowd
The Phonics Dance was inspired by my inability to read first graders' stories.
Decoding their words was almost impossible for me. So I came up with an approach that would give these six, seven and eight year olds a strategy to sound out words. As first and second graders dance their way through chants and rhymes they start a journey through sound, continually looking for “hunks” and “chunks” that are part of our language. The decoding process is made easy because of the rhyme and movement in the learning. Children of all developmental ages benefit from daily reinforcement. The Phonics Dance is a spiral approach to language arts. Initially you will see huge progress in each child’s writing. As the students in your room learn how to “hunk” and “chunk” the carry over into Reading will be an easy one. The Phonics Dance gives young children one more strategy to use in their journey towards literacy. Dancing all the way of course.
Why do we need the Phonics Dance?
Reading is a difficult process. Here’s why.....
84% of the words in the English language are phonetically correct.
The 16% that are not phonetically correct appear in all types of literature 80% of the time.
I have found a few basic Reading Intervention explanation blogs, videos, and websites that can be resourceful to answer some FAQ's. When your student is struggling it's a frustrating time, why add to the frustration of understanding lingo and the process of improvement.
My second grader is having a hard time focusing on one word at a time when reading. What can I do to help her?Question: My second grader is having a hard time focusing on one word at a time when reading. What can I do to help her?Answer: Beginning readers need lots of practice reading – it takes time, practice, time, and more practice! Work with your daughter's teacher to learn exactly at what level she is reading. Then, go to the library and load up on books written at that level AND below. Provide her with time each day to read, reread, and reread again those below reading level books. You'll want to build up her confidence and fluency with those books. Then, support her reading by reading WITH her the books at her instructional level. Prompt her to sound out words that can be sounded out (and just tell her the ones that can't or are too tricky). Praise her efforts and reread each book multiple times over the course of a week or two. Finally, get some terrific children's literature written ABOVE her reading level. Read those books to her to remind her WHY reading is so great. Model lots of good expression and let her hear what good, fluent reading sounds like.
Do everything you can to provide a fun climate for reading. If a book is too hard, put it away. Reinforce her efforts and continue to work closely with your school and teachers. If she continues to struggle, talk with them about additional testing and some one-on-one supervised tutoring.
Hello and welcome back to a new school year. I'm have been given a great opportunity to pick up where Mrs. Hoskins left off last year. She is still in the building so no need for tears.
My goal this year is learning the ropes and trying my best to strengthen your child's reading abilities. I will be posting at home activities you can try with your child. One of the best things I can encourage for your family to do, is to read nightly with your student. Read to them, let them read to you. Try to pick a book that interest both of you so it can be an enjoyable time. This can lead to meaningful discussions which enrich your students comprehension and understanding of a text.