Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Decoding Strategies Freebie

I love teaching literacy to little ones, which is why I chose to get my Master's in it 5 years ago.  The growth is SO awesome!  Those 'Aha' moments are the best for both me and my students!  Over the years, guided reading has evolved in my classroom.  Several years ago, every student was in a guided reading group EVERY DAY.  But, with budget cuts, we went from having loads of helpers to fewer and fewer each year. SO...I make it work the best I can, while meeting the needs of all my students!  One thing has remained the same throughout: I ALWAYS teach decoding strategies.

While some students come to school more prepared than others and may be quite fluent, they may not always know all the strategies for attacking a tricky word.  On the flip side, struggling readers typically have no idea how to decode a word, which will lead to little or no comprehension.  Reading strategies provide the means to tackle problems and with practice will lead to skills that become automatic over time, which is what we want, right?!  I have selected the strategies below as the most important ones that young readers need.  I prefer to use these as opposed to animal names, just because I feel teaching the real words and strategies are more authentic and have more meaning to beginning readers.

Here's how I introduce strategies in guided reading:  For my level A-B readers, we mainly focus on pointing and looking at the picture.  
I begin my C-D students with the first three strategies and add more as they become more fluent and comfortable using them.  Once students move away from finger pointing {level D-E}, I only ask them to point to the word they are having trouble with.

Organization Tips: I have my strategies attached by rings so I can easily show or hide the strategies my groups are working on.

For reinforcement at home, I distribute smaller versions of the strategy charts.  I attach magnetic tape on he back so the parents and kids can keep them on the fridge and grab each night as they are reading.  I have found over the years that most parents truly want to help their children with reading but just aren't sure how.  These little charts make great tools for parents.

For another fun ways to encourage reading at home, send home a monthly reading log and reward students for bringing it back filled out!  I've used these logs in my classroom for many years and they are a HIT!  You can read more about them here.

I hope you found this post helpful.  Click the strategy cover to snag the posters for free and click the reading log cover to check out the monthly reading logs.  I appreciate you taking a moment to leave feedback and a comment, as well!



Miss Squirrels said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

These posters would be great reminders for our ELL group! Very cute:)
☞ Go Nutty With Me ☜

Carole Alalouf said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi Mrs. Wheeler, I just wanted to congratulate on your reading strategies as well as on your creative and beautiful materials. My business partner and I run a free reading incentive Website (www.reading-rewards.com) and we love to see what teachers like you are doing to encourage reading. I have also checked out your Pinterest page and followed many of your boards. As soon as we have the chance to launch our own Pinterest page, I plan to do a lot of repinning! Thanks for all you do!

Anna Lynn said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Funny you would post this today because I was just thinking yesterday about if I want to pursue a Master's in Curr/Inst. or in Reading (I'm leaning slightly toward reading, but don't have a good reason yet) This is my 2nd year teaching (K) so I'm just starting to think about the details of continuing my own education. I would love to know why you chose reading over that other oh-so-popular path!

I am also curious about how you said you teach the names of strategies rather than using the animal names. I am usually the teacher who, although I like fun and cute stuff, likes to be real with the kids because they can handle it and it does mean more--yet I am all for the animal strategies! But I've never really considered just teaching the strategies themselves, without the animals. Frankly the animals still help me to remember what each strategy is, so I guess I assume they help my kinders as well. Obviously first grade is a little different than kinder, but I am wondering if you used to use the animal names and then dropped them at some point? Or if you have noticed a difference in kids who learned the animal names in kinder, and now are just hearing about the strategies with you? I am wondering if you have seen a difference in learning that you think is due to teaching just the strategies, or if it's just one of those teacher-hunches we have where we have to go with what our gut tells us our kids need. Would love to know more about the rationale behind your method(s)!

Anna Lynn said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh also I was going to ask if you have done Pizza Hut's Book It, since you mentioned reading logs and prizes. My kids love it, and I love it since they get rewards that I don't have to create or buy! :)

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