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Category Archives: Literacy

What I Learned About Teaching Literacy My First Year

What I Learned About Teaching Literacy My First Year

True Confession: My first year of teaching, I had no idea how to teach literacy. I used word lists and memorization with students and took a haphazard approach to teaching literacy. I didn’t teach the skills or conceptual knowledge my students needed to read. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t very effective. I hadn’t learned much about… Continue Reading

3 Easy Ways To Practice Phoneme Manipulation

3 Easy Ways To Practice Phoneme Manipulation

A few weeks ago, I talked about 3 essential reading skills that students need to master to be able to decode language. Without these skills, students will struggle with reading and spelling. That means as teachers, we need to provide specific instruction and practice in these skills. Last week, I focused in on segmenting, and before… Continue Reading

How To Practice Segmenting To Improve Spelling

How To Practice Segmenting To Improve Spelling

Last week we looked at teaching children the essential reading skill of blending and why that is important. Segmenting is another essential reading skill. And if you have kiddos who are doing OK with their reading, but struggling with spelling, segmenting can help them improve their spelling. On the other hand, if you’re not specifically teaching children… Continue Reading

How To Teach The Vital Reading Skill Of Blending

How To Teach The Vital Reading Skill Of Blending

Blending, paired with segmenting, is an important reading skill. When learning to read, students need to be able to separate out sounds and then push them together to build words. Pushing sounds together as in  /m/ /a/ /t/ = mat is called blending. So how do you teach this essential reading skill? Teach the reading… Continue Reading

3 Essential Reading Skills—And How To Teach Them

3 Essential Reading Skills—And How To Teach Them

Confession: As a new teacher, I often struggled to teach students to read. The main reason was that I didn’t provide students with the 3 essential reading skills. Many of the activities, techniques and strategies I used—Looking at flashcards, using a mastery folder, LSCWC—relied on students’ visual memory. There is a limit to how much… Continue Reading

How To Make Phonics Fun For Students

How To Make Phonics Fun For Students

What do children actually need to know to learn to read and spell? It may seem obvious, but as a new teacher, I really didn’t know how to teach reading or spelling—and I’ve met other teachers in the same boat. Kids need 3 essential skills to decode the English language: blending, segmenting and manipulation. Which do… Continue Reading

How To Pair Books With Phonics Games

How To Pair Books With Phonics Games

Imagine getting a student excited about reading, giving them a game to play—and having all of it focus on particular phonics skills. When you pair the right books with phonics games, you can engage kids and really hit home with particular sound skills. I’ve had good results with PhonicBooks for getting kids to read, and with… Continue Reading

3 Ways To Encourage The Joy Of Reading

3 Ways To Encourage The Joy Of Reading

Sometimes we get so caught up in getting students over hurdles to reading that the joy of reading goes out the window. And yet, the joy of reading is so important to get and keep kids reading. If you’ve ever had a reluctant or struggling reader say, “Can I read more?” you know the power… Continue Reading

3 Effective Reading Fluency Strategies And Free Tools

3 Effective Reading Fluency Strategies And Free Tools

First off, what is reading fluency—and why does it matter? According to the Primary National Strategy (2006), reading fluency is the ability to read Accurately Quickly Expressively In order for students to be fluent and independent readers, they need to achieve automaticity. That means reading about 80 words correct per minute using an age appropriate text.… Continue Reading

How To Find The Best Phonics Activities

How To Find The Best Phonics Activities

Is your phonics plan pulled together as you need new ideas and activities? When I first started my teaching journey I didn’t have a clue how to teach kids how to read and spell. I tried a bit of a mixed bag approach, mostly made up of whole language strategies. I used activities such as… Continue Reading