Showing posts with label games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label games. Show all posts

How I use games to increase students' phonics word level fluency

I sat with my grade level team, reviewing this month’s oral reading fluency data and they could not stop asking me how I moved my group. 

In a word – games. 

The team had decided to work on accuracy instead of words correct. (I’m not sure there is a great way to increase reading fluency but okay I’m in.) Sometimes starting small is way better than not starting at all and this group has never ventured into the world of using one's data for anything. 


This year, grade-level teams are working with our Coach to create monthly data-based goals. We just started using Benchmark Advanced, so teams are looking at all the reading data and making a decision on a long and short-term plan. (For most of the teams I work with–this is the 1st time they have really looked at and done anything with their classroom data.)

This one, as much as I’m shaking my head, I can see a place where I can layer in additional fluency work at the word level with their students and not sacrifice fidelity.

Over the years, I have moved the oral reading fluency scores in a variety of ways. I have never found something that works with most of the students I support for reading.  From repeated readings to focusing on specific words, nothing works for all the students in a group. 

All my reading groups this year are OG. I live and breathe OG, which means there is a precise lesson plan and very little room to add “other” things. I’m not sure how many really get this. This year, teachers want me to fix everything. 

I use Yoshimoto. I really love the flexibility it gives me. I dislike the amount of flexibility it gives me but I can lay out each group's scope and sequence and add my “others” as I need to. Mind you within reason. 

Last year, I began working in very specific game days to target word-level fluency. These days tended to be on Fridays (aka Fun Friday).  When a Game Tub in tow, students played Crocodile Dentist and Squeaky Squirrel.

Slowly, the sounding out loud stopped. The confidence in the learning target increased. Slowly, the syllable understanding increased. And then the accuracy scores changed. Then the big daddy of them all, the iReady Phonics scores started to move. 

Now, was this all by adding game time to their practice do this. I have no way of knowing. But what I do know is that if students are engaged and motivated then everything falls into place.

Reflecting on this growth over the summer, led me to add phrases and sentences based on the skill being taught. You can find my game pieces in my store to begin building self-confidence, language skills, and word-level fluency in your students.

My students do have their favorites but I make a point to rotate them about every month. 

The cool thing about all of the game pieces is that it is super easy to differentiate the cards depending on who is in the group and what each student needs to work on. 

Nothing like being able to stack the deck. lol

ROAR–CVC, CCVC, CVCC is built using pictures to support the words from Smarty Symbols but you also get cards with no pictures.

You can play with just CVC or CVCC with and without pictures.


When I have a group working on Five and Six sounds. I pull out Melt. Then students can work on real and nonsense words. You can add easier words to build fluency or a couple of compound words to make it more interesting.


If it’s a Monday after a long weekend, I like to play Crocidle Dentist. You have to set a timer or the whole time is gone before you know it! It’s a great way to build just fluency before he closes his mouth. This game is perfect for a quick push to help students move from sounding words out aloud to a more grade-appropriate strategy.

Click on any picture to check them out for yourself. Your students will love any of them. 

What games do your students like to play?

Chat soon,

End of the Year

It's hard to believe that the 6th graders I had this year are moving on. After three years of pushing and pulling, to help them learn to love learning. Being so close to grade level to read what their friends were reading, always made everyone smile.

Next year, the team will departmentalize K-2 and 3-6. This will be new to our building leadership. When I started teaching 8 years ago, I worked in a school that was departmentalized. I'm not sure how kindergarten will work, since grade level do reading at the same time; kindergarten is wanting to keep four teachers in the room for reading. (My school is small-two classrooms at each grade.) I think it will depend on how the master schedule gets laid out.  My school uses its Title funds to provide two teachers that go into all classrooms to provide extra reading support. In kindergarten, everyone supports doing the Daily 5 block to ensure that every students is with an adult during reading.  Currently, I don't know which block I have. I'll have to wait until I go back in the fall.

I have a long list of things that I wish to tackle before fall, SMART board things, books to read (Guided Math and Visible Learning for Teachers), and things to share with everyone along the way. Oh, and a nap or two along the way.  What do you hope to get done before going back in the fall?

Wishing everyone a restful and stress free summer.
Beginning Letter Path KLJVYZ

Sound and Letter Bingo

I was asked by a group of Kindergarten students that I work with to create a bingo game for them. So, I created one with upper and lower case letters and added inital sound pictures to it as well. You can use any letters that you already have to as game pieces. Enjoy :)
Sounds and Letters Bingo


My Just Words group is starting this week by learning about suffixes and some spelling rules. I created this game using words from Unit 4, to work on reading words accurately and then sort them based on the ending sounds. The unit will start with a simple suffix concept with just the suffix -s. We have spent sometime in previous units with this suffix. Students will learn the sometimes suffix -s says /s/ like in shops and at other times it says /z/ like in bugs. Next, I will add the -es suffix to basewords. 

Another concept that they need to use mastery on is the baseword. Mastering how to read and spell basewords in a single syllable is super important before we move into multi-syllable words. Before we are done with the unit, I'll teach -ing and -ed suffixes. Students will learn that the -ed suffix says /ed/ as in rented, /d/ as in spilled, and /t/ as in chomped.

I see anchor charts in our future.
Just Words Unit 4 Go Fish

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.
Follow on Bloglovin
Special Ed. Blogger

I contribute to:

Search This Blog