Master of Arts in Literacy Instruction - Teacher Education

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Suggestions from the Classroom

Week 1:

Sound boxes can help students learn to manipulate the phonemes in words by helping students identify and segment what sounds (not letters) they hear in a word. Create a set of cards to be used in a center in your classroom. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Divide an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of construction paper into three equal sections.
  2. On the back of the card, write the word students will be segmenting.
  3. On the top, place a picture representing the word.
  4. In the middle, draw connected square boxes. You will need 1 box for each phoneme in the word (sheep will need 3 boxes, but fox will need 4).
  5. The bottom is left blank. Students can line up the markers they will push into the boxes as they segment the words.

For more information on using sound boxes see:
McCarthy, P. A. (2008) Using sound boxes systematically to develop phonemic awareness. The Reading Teacher, 62, 346-349.

Week 2:

Repeated reading of poetry builds fluency! Have your students repeatedly practice a short poem (100 to 150 word) for 5 to 10 minutes each day for a week. After each practice, allow a few students to perform for the class. At the end of the week, students can perform the poems for other classes and teachers in the school.

For more information on repeated reading of poetry see:
Faver, S. (2008). Repeated reading of poetry can enhance reading fluency. The Reading Teacher, 62, 350-352.

Week 3:

Reading buddies: While reading buddies can be a great way for younger and older children to interact, you can help your students' experiences become more meaningful by teaching the older buddies to choose good books and to read with their reading buddies. To help them choose good books:

  1. show them examples of appropriate and inappropriate and discuss the characteristics of each.
  2. Give them a list of age-appropriate books.
  3. review their choices as you walk around the room listening to them read.

To help them read with their buddies:

  1. model for them how to choose good stopping points for book discussions.
  2. teach them to use prediction strategies such as picture walks and title/cover previews.
  3. then remind them of decoding strategies such as looking for chunks, thinking about rhyming words, and rereading the sentences so that they will know how to help their buddies read the books.
For more information on making the most out of reading buddies see:
Theurer, J. L. & Schmidt, K. B. (2008). Coaching reading buddies for success. The Reading Teacher, 62, 261-262.