September Show and Tell

 I'm linking up for this month's view into my classroom with"Forever in 5th Grade's" Show and Tell.

Student's have been back for 30 some odd days. Most of our time in small groups has been spent building routines and learning how "Parts to Whole" can help us read and write.

An important thing for student's is they need to show how each of them created meaning strategically of the digraphs. These guys have spend the last couple weeks learning and working with digraphs in reading and writing. The point is to get them to use higher order thinking to demonstrate how they created meaning i.e-how will they remember them as they move on to more complicated reading and phonics work.

Each group has it's own fluency challenge. From letter names to high frequency words a differentiated fluency game based on the same idea. Even with spending most of our time on phonics, spelling and reading have to be a fluency practice. My groups beg, for time to do "Up Against the Wall."  I've put the data on the wall next to the posters using their data binder numbers. My hope is that by working on sight words their grade level oral reading scores will increase. (By this spending less time on them as a whole.)

I have decided to take the big step to move my lesson planning to Google. This is week 3 and I LOVE it. I have Google Slides Lesson Plans for each group. Each week I make a copy of the plan and make my changes. I can take pictures of student work and up-load it to their file. It does help students have binders they keep everything in guided reading books, their data, everything.

 Just because they have been working on phonics doesn't mean they don't real, authentic text. This group is working on putting all their strategies together. They have worked "parts to whole" with sounds and letters to figure out how to break apart words. They are seeing how this strategy is WAY better than guessing.

What are Best Practices in Phonics Instruction?

Phonics instruction has become the most controversial of all areas of reading education over the last ten years. Phonics has become my main stay in small group instruction. Once the only aspect of reading instruction, it has now become one of five important components of reading education (with phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, vocabulary instruction and fluency building making up the other four areas). Phonics builds a strong literacy foundation.

Timing and Grouping

Phonics instruction provides the most benefit for young readers. The critical period for learning phonics extends from the time that the child begins to read (usually kindergarten) to approximately three years after. In studies, children receiving phonics instruction starting in kindergarten and continuing for two to three years after saw the greatest gains in learning and applying phonics to reading tasks.

Phonic instruction for young readers can be offered in any grouping configuration. There was no notable difference in children receiving instruction one-on-one, in small groups or as a whole class. The most influential components were the age of the students and the instructional format.

Systematic Instruction

The best way to teach phonics is systematically. This means moving children through a planned sequence of skills rather than teaching particular aspects of phonics as they are encountered in texts. Systematic instruction can focus on synthetic phonics (decoding words by translating letters into sounds and then blending them), analytic phonics (identifying whole words then parsing out letter-sound connections), analogy phonics (using familiar parts of words to discover new words), phonics through spelling (using sound-letter connections to write words) and/or phonics in context (combining sound-letter connections with context clues to decode new words). Regardless of the specific method used what is most important in systematic instruction is that there is a deliberate and sequential focus on building and using the relationship between sounds and letter symbols to help readers decode new words.

Modeling Followed by Independent Practice

Because the connection between letters and sounds is not readily apparent to new readers, modeling is an important aspect of phonics instruction. Both teachers and parents should model ways that a reader uses the sound-symbol relationship to decode unfamiliar words by reading and thinking aloud. The best texts for modeling are high interest or informational. These include (but are not limited to) nursery rhymes, songs, non-fiction books and poems with repetitive language.

Once children have been exposed to adult modeling several times, they should be encouraged to practice applying phonics to their own reading. This independent practice helps young readers truly build the connection between symbols and sounds. Adults should guide children in strategically applying phonics to authentic reading and writing experiences to help them develop good decoding skills.

Literature-Based Instruction

For many years phonics was taught in isolation.  Worksheets or textbook that asked them to decode and write lists of words is not the answer. Researchers discovered that young readers could not apply the decoding skills “learned” in isolation to real reading tasks such as reading a story or a book. It is now recommended that phonics be taught through literature. While this may seem contrary to the systematic approach to instruction, it is not. Teachers and parents should select pieces of age and developmentally appropriate literature that highlight the phonics skills focused on at particular points in the sequence of instruction. For example, if children are learning to identify the sound-letter connection in /b/ an appropriate piece of literature to teach and reinforce this skill would be one that uses alliteration (repetition of beginning sounds) of the /b/ sound. Plus it helps with skill transfer.

Individualized Approach

Because students come to kindergarten at a variety of different reading readiness levels, it is important that teachers assess where students are at and individualize their phonics instruction. One student may begin the year already knowing single letter sound-letter connections making her ready to work on blends. Another student may have very little phonemic awareness and exposure to print texts. Therefore teachers must tailor instruction to meet each student’s needs. This ensures they will continue to develop appropriate phonics skills.

Home-School Connections

As with every academic area, parental involvement is one of the keys to success. This is especially true for reading development. The more a parent can read with a child at home, the better chance she has of developing a strong interest in and ability to read. Parents should reinforce phonics as they read at home with their children. Modeling phonics use to decode unfamiliar words and guiding children as they attempt to apply these strategies to their independent reading helps them develop as readers. Teachers can help parents by providing information on phonics and how to use the sound-letter connection to decode words.

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

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