Group work—routine for reading a decodable book in class

Digital 1 page routine for small groups US

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Learning to read is hard work. It is helpful to prepare students for reading a decodable book so that they experience success and enjoy their achievement. Here is a routine for group work that prepares students for reading success.

Step 1: Word-building with target sounds/letters

Skill: phonemic awareness (blending and segmenting with letters)

Choose a few words with the target phonics you are teaching. Draw lines on a white board that correlate to the number of sounds in the word. Use only the letters for the word being built. Ask the students to listen to the sounds in the word and place the letters on the lines in the correct sequence. Then ask the students to blend the sounds into the word. Ask the students to write the word, while saying the sounds. This can be an individual or group activity.

Step 2: Word reading

Skill: decoding at word level

Prepare word cards or a list of words with the target sounds. Some decodable books may have a list of the focus sounds. Ask the students to read the words by sounding out the letters and blending them together. 

Step 3: Review of heart words

Skill: decoding words with tricky parts

Find the list of heart words (common words that have tricky spellings) in the decodable book. Write the words on a board highlighting the tricky parts. Ask the students to sound out the letters they know and provide them with the letters/sounds that are beyond their phonics knowledge. Ask the students to blend all the sounds into a word.

Step 4: Vocabulary

Skill: language comprehension

Select words in the text that the students may not know. Explain, discuss, and give examples of how to use the word. Ask the students to make up their own sentences with the word. Some words may have more than one meaning and this is a good opportunity to develop language comprehension.

Step 5: Reading the decodable book

Skill: decoding at text level

Ask the students to read in pairs, taking turns to read (alternate pages). If there is time, the students can repeat this activity reading the pages they hadn’t read. Go around the group listening to the students and correct errors, asking the students to sound out all the letter/s and blend them into a word.  Point out sounds that are omitted or added. If the student doesn’t recognize a letter or letter combination make sure to provide this missing knowledge. 

Step 6: Comprehension

Skill: understanding the text at different levels

Use a variety of questions to discuss the text. These can be: factual, inferential, prediction, opinion, and based on summarizing the text.

Step 7: Dictation

Skill: phonic knowledge, segmenting, and handwriting

Choose a page or two from the decodable book. Say the sentence. Ask the students to repeat the sentence and then write it. Provide heart words that have not been learned yet. Date and keep the written dictation to use as a record of progress and to inform future planning and lessons.

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