Monday, May 2, 2005

May 2005: Motivating Readers by Giving them a New Perspective on Words


Background

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May's strategy comes from a terrific tutor from the University of Utah’s America Reads Federal Work/Study program.

University of Utah

The tutor had to think outside the formal curriculum he was using to help his student rediscover his interest in reading while working on word patterns.  We hope you find this strategy useful for the children you serve.

The Strategy

“ACK!”
(Learning Common Word Endings)

Created by: America Reads at the University of Utah
Topic: Decoding & Sounding Out Words
Grade Levels: First – Third
Arrangements: One-on-One
Materials: - Ideal: dry erase board & dry erase markers
- Alternative: pencil & paper

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Situation: I had to get my student interested in reading again. (I had one child who had become bored with our sessions. Although I tried to vary activities each time, he became restless sitting in his seat and would not listen or participate in my lessons.)

For word work, we had been following the word patterns outlined by the Early Steps program (a one-to-one tutoring intervention). The student had been struggling with short a, i, and o when combined with -ck, so I thought I'd try something a little different to get him a little more into the lesson.

   
Step 1: Rather than sitting at our usual table, I instead had the student stand at the large whiteboard in the front of the classroom. I wrote '__ck' on the board, then proceeded to ask the child to fill in the blanks to make the 'ack' 'ick' and 'ock' chunks, and to then repeat the sounds.
   
Step 2: Once the student could recognize which sound went with which letter, we began writing words. We would leave '__ck' written on the board and change only the beginning sounds to make words (e.g., lack, sack, pack). The student enjoyed seeing how the word chunks he now knew could make so many different words, especially on a larger scale (the whiteboard).
   
Step 3: For the final part of our activity, I again wrote the three word chunks, and then asked the child to see if he could find three new words that we hadn't spelled yet. It was a bit of a challenge for him to think away from the other words we had already written, but I gave him some space for a while and he was able to do what I had asked.
   
Step 4: I found this to be a very successful activity in that the student was again interested in participating because he had a new perspective on the words, and he also more quickly mastered his sounds.
   
Additional Resource for America Learns Network Members: Here are some other strategies that may help your student tackle new words:

Find more than 40 other relevant strategies here.

Thoughts?
How Have You Addressed this Issue?

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