Hello! My name is Christina from Sea Bear's Kindergarten. I have been teaching kindergarten for 8 years. Previous to that, I homeschooled my children for 4 years. I am a certified Orton-Gillingham tutor and I am also trained in the Slingerland Method of reading and spelling. I have been contracting myself to schools for the last 11 years. I LOVE helping students that struggle with the reading process realize that though they learn differently, they can do it! I am so excited that Jeannie has graciously allowed me to guest blog to share some of the things I do with the students I work with.
People read words two different ways. Some learn to read by simply memorizing words. Those who are terrific readers and spellers will tell you that they learned how to sound words out and can decode sounds and letters until they form words. So how do you teach someone who struggles to understand sounds to learn how to read or spell?
One of the best ways to teach someone how to read is to teach them how to listen to sounds instead of initially focusing on letters. They can learn to listen to a word and break it into individual sounds.
In this picture, the student is verbally given a two-letter word such as "ot". The student is to repeat the word back to you. Then show them how to say the word slowly like a turtle, "o....t". You then ask them to tell you how many sounds they heard in the word. (Hopefully, they will tell you 2...if not, do it again.) Then, using colored items such as the tiles in this picture, show them how to pull toward them 2 different colored tiles to represent the two different sounds they heard. They are to then touch each tile (starting left to right like you read) and make the individual sounds...."o....t". They say /o/ and touch the red tile and say /t/ and touch the blue tile.
This can be done over and over until the student gets the idea that each sound is a separate sound. "Fake" words are used to take the pressure off of a student "knowing" words and trying to work with what they know about known words. Doing this activity with "fake" words will truly show you if the student is growing in this concept.
This activity can be done with three letter words such as "spo" as well. You have to be sure that the child picks a different colored tile for each different sound. You can use tiles or legos or teddy bear counters...anything that is the same size, but different colors. I like to use these plastic tiles because they lay flat and are easy to work with.
If you use words that have two similar letters such as "nin", make sure that the colored tiles match for the letters that match as in this picture.
This activity is always very rewarding. The kinesthetic movement gives them a way to "hold on to" the sounds they are hearing. Eventually, they can be shown how to not only break the sounds apart in the word, but they can also be shown how to move these pieces together and slowly blend them into a readable word. Down the road, the colored tiles can be changed out for ones that have individual letters on them. The lettered tiles can be used the same way the non-lettered tiles are and eventually, the struggling reader looks up into your eyes with the realization that he or she CAN DO IT!
I have to say that working with struggling readers has been one of my greatest rewards as a teacher. I love showing students that learning can be fun!
I love to make up fun reading activities for my students. I have created a Kindergarten Lifestyle EXCLUSIVE for you! Click HERE to receive your FREE 2 page reading/writing/spelling activity!
Teaching the struggling reader how to read involves many more steps than the one I shared above. If you like what you saw and want to learn more, please visit my site for more ideas. I would LOVE to hear your feedback on this activity.