When student(s) arrive at Teaching Reading Step 2, they have mastered identifying 80% (21/26) of the letters and their corresponding sounds. Also, they are able to independently write 80% (21/26) of the letters of the alphabet. If you need resources to help you with these skills, read my blog post Emergent Reader Level 1 .
Now they are ready to begin blending two/three letters sounds in order to read words. My units, Reading Closed Syllables (or short vowel words) and 15 Closed Syllable Activities & Games or the [Bundle Packet] offers a plethora of word lists that include all short vowel words. The words on the word list can be read repeatedly to increase the child’s fluency and accuracy. Before having the student read any word list, take time to practice reading the words together and discussing the meaning of the words. On each word list there are “little faces” that can be filled in by you, the student, or the parent to help monitor the words read correctly/incorrectly. This way you have a record of the words the student needs to practice rereading at another time.
When introducing Closed Syllable words begin by having students read simple word lists to familiarize them with the sounds. These word lists can be printed using three options: just print out as is, print out and spiral word lists together, or print out and create a word lists booklet.
Also, there are 15 activities and games that can be played during the time frame you are teaching the student(s) Closed Syllable Words.
When beginning to read short vowel words, students can use the following method to aid in them sounding out words.
- Place their index finger under the first letter and slide their finger in a looping-like position thus moving onto the next letter and doing the same with each subsequent letter sound. For example with the word “n- a- p,” loop the index finger under the letter n, then loop it under the letter a, then loop it under the letter p.
- Once the student sounds out the individual sounds of a word, then the student can slide their finger under the entire word saying the word faster so they can better hear how the sounds blend. Model these looping and sliding with the student. Using this tactile strategy helps the student to keep the sounds in order.
There are two other reading tasks that I do while students are reading Closed Syllable words. The first activity is to continually have the student read sight words. One key thing to remember is that sight words can not be sounded out. That is why they are called sight words [they have to be learned by sight – by recognizing the words when seeing the whole word]. A student just needs to learn to instantly recognize the words when he or she sees them in a text. The following sight words games can be played to teach any grade level sight words whether the words are pre-primer or third grade level.
Click on this blog post to read more about teaching and assessing sight words:
The other task a new reader needs to spend time doing other than reading and blending Closed Syllable words and reading sight words is reading leveled books. I personally follow the “Guided Reading” levels, and these levels go from A-Z. Guided Reading Levels A-E should be read while teaching Step 2. Below are an assortment of reading level charts that helps with knowing exactly on what level your child should be reading.
Now the question is how do I choose the right level of books for my child to read? Well, there is a handy dandy tool that helps level books. It is found on https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/home/. Once there, click “book wizard,” and at the top of the page type in the title of your book where it says, “Enter Keyword.” Then click the search button, and the book level will come up. There is also a “book wizard” app that you can download to your phone. Then when you’re out and about shopping for books, you can scan the bar code of the book, and it will read the level for you. In my classroom, I label the back of all my reading books with the level of the book written on a little round sticker.
Some of these books are free downloads, others you can purchase, or just take the list to the library and check the books out.
Depending on the age of your child determines how long you would teach this level of reading. For example, a typical 5 or 6-year old, may take approximately a year. A student who is 7 or 8 years old may take approximately six months. If your child is older, less time would need to be spent at this level of reading, but then it is important not to rush through teaching Closed Syllables because this is the foundation that strengthens all other reading skills. 50% of our language is Closed Syllables. Therefore, this in itself stresses how critical it is for a child to be a accurate and fluent reader at this level.