First Grade: Students worked hard to master letters and sounds last week and many were able to “graduate” to beginning sight words. Having quick recognition of these words will help when reading first grade books. This week, we will add three more strategies to our reading toolkit. Click here for a picture and description of all of the decoding strategies. Along with using picture clues (Eagle Eye) and the first sound of words (Lips the Fish), we will learn how to use the rest of the sentence to help figure out a tricky word. This strategy is called “Skippy the Frog” and readers skip a tricky word, read the rest of the sentence, and then try to use this additional information to figure out the word. We have discussed how a reader always checks his/her guess, to see if the letters and sounds match with the word. We will learn about rereading the sentence (Tryin Lion) to figure out a tricky word and also about how to stretch out the sounds of a difficult word (Stretchy the Snake).
Sometimes, readers need to use multiple strategies to figure out tricky words, a very difficult skill for beginning readers. The old standby, Sounding Out, doesn’t always work! If your child gets stuck on a word, guide him/her to use a strategy that will be most helpful. If you can see that a great hint is in the picture, prompt your child to use Eagle Eye. If he/she needs to read the rest of the sentence to learn more information, prompt with Skippy the Frog. By giving these great hints, you can help your child become more comfortable using different strategies.
Second Grade: Readers are continuing to work on quick recognition of sight words and differentiating between short vowel sounds. Being able to hear and identify the correct sounds in words is important for both reading and writing. Second graders are also doing word sorts with the H Brothers (th, wh, sh, and ch). This decoding work is so vital for reading in second grade as longer words begin to appear more frequently in their books. Having a strong foundation in letter combinations will help your child figure out those tricky words. You can reinforce these skills by helping your child recognize these sounds in spelling words and in his/her just right books. When we finish this review, we will be ready to start our first book together.