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Thoughts on: Help Your Struggling Readers Using Research-based Early Intervention Strategies Conference

Phew!!!  That was quite a conference title!!  The presenter, Sue Brady, broke the conference into five sections: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.  For each section, she gave several active student friendly  hands-on activities.  I will give you an example of an activity for each section.

Walk a Sound was an activity for phonemic awareness.  To do this activity, the child/children stand up and move one foot forward for each sound they hear in the word.  So, for ham, the child would step forward with his/her right foot as he/she says /h/, then steps forward with the left foot while saying /a/, then the right foot with /m/ and then brings both feet side by side to say the whole word “ham”.  A book she used for rhyming was rhyming dust bunnies.

For phonics, Sue recommended the website:  You have to join but it is free.

In the phonics section, she used paint chip samples to chunk words or to break words into syllables.  For example, she used a four color paint chip and wrote” in” on the first color, “ves” on the second color, “ti” on the third color, and “gate” on the fourth color.  The students read the chunks and then put the chunks together to read the word” investigate”.  When they get good at doing this activity, she extends it by cutting the chips apart and then mixing up the the chunks and laying the chunks out like “stand” on one color, “un”  on another color, “ing” on a third color, and “der” on the last color.  Then the student reads the chunks and rearranges the chunks to make “understanding”.  The book I Knew Two Who said Moo was suggested for second  to fourth grade students.

Snowball was a game that she used to teach vocabulary.  Here are the directions for Snowball Fight!  In advance, print words on paper, one word per sheet of paper.  Pass one word to each child.  They crumble the paper into a snowball and throw the snowballs at someone.  They keep picking up the snowballs and throwing them until the teacher says, “Stop!”  Each child picks up the nearest snowball and figures out the letter/word and finds their partner.  This game can be done with upper and lower case letters, sight words, antonyms, synonyms, cause and effect, etc.  Categories help students remember vocabulary words.  A book that uses categories is All the World. 

 Comprehension was the fourth reading category.  The presenter reminded us that predictions require background knowledge and evidence.  She had a chart that had “My Predictions” in the first column, “Prove It! Page _____” in the second column, “Not Proved Page _____” in the third column and “Not in text!” in the last column.  Students made three to five predictions and then read to see if the book proved their prediction, proved their prediction was wrong or did not contain information about their prediction.  This sheet could be used for both fiction and nonfiction books.  Scholastic has a whole series of True or False nonfiction books like True or False Mammals that would be a good resource for second and third graders  to use for prediction.

Fluency was the last reading area covered.  An activity for fluency was to read and reread phrases or sentences with different voices.  They could read it like a monster using a monster voice, then reread it like a ghost, and then maybe read it again like a race car driver.    Sue recommended using any book by Mo Willems for Reader’s Theater which also improves fluency.  She recommended this website: because the site has great fluency ideas and poems.  This was a great conference packed with numerous ideas and a resource booklet.


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