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Showing posts with label LETRS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LETRS. Show all posts

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Syllables... and Then Some

Did you know there were 6 kinds of syllables?

Some: This post discusses the 6 syllable types and why these are important in learning to read. It includes a multi-syllable freebie!

Knowing the different kinds of syllables will help the children move as readers from reading basic single syllable words to multi-syllabic words like watermelon and helicopter.

However, children shouldn't be trying to decode multi syllabic words until they have mastered single syllable words with blends, digraphs, short vowels, long vowel patterns, r controlled vowels,  diphthongs and other vowel pairs, prefixes and suffixes.

In my second grade class, I'm still working on fluency with short vowels with several of my students, but my top readers are very much able to decode multi syllabic words, as well as spell them!

Here are the six kinds of syllables:

  • Closed Syllable - These are short vowels followed by a consonant, such as  num in number, or vel in velvet
  • Vowel Consonant e Syllable - This is your classic long vowel/ silent e pattern such as ade in parade or cide in decide.
  • Open Syllable - These are long vowel syllables that end with the vowel such as ta in table and spi in spider.
  • Consonant l e Syllable - These are at the ends of words like ble in table and tle in little.
  • R- Controlled Syllable - These have an r controlled vowel such as gar in garden and der in under
  • Vowel Digraph/ Diphthong "D" Syllable - These contain a diphthong or a vowel diagraph. (Sometimes called "vowel teams") Examples are thou as in thousand and poi as in poison.
Why is it important to teach syllables?  When readers break unfamiliar words into syllables, the words become easier to decode. Learning about syllables also help students remember spelling patterns. Knowing how to decode syllables will help children become more fluent readers, and studies show that fluency helps comprehension. And that's our goal, isn't it?  

Many teachers teach syllables by having the children clap the beat of the syllables. This works for most children. 

A more tactile way is to teach the children to place their hand under their jaw as they say the words. As the mouth will open for every vowel sound (and each syllable represents a vowel sound) the jaw will tap the hand for each syllable.  

Want to read more about syllables?

  • Six Syllable Types on Reading Rockets was co-written by my instructor of the LETRS training, so it's got to be quality information!  (And interesting, too!)
  • Vocabulary.co.il has a couple of syllable games and videos for the kids.

I've put together a freebie with a couple of lists that can be used for practicing with syllables. There are a few options for using my syllables lists. They could be used simply as lists for children to practice reading. They could also be cut out and shuffled, for the kids to sort. They could sort by syllable type, or simply how many syllables are in the words. Find your freebie here: Reading 2 and 3 Syllable Words.

Enjoy your freebie and your 6 kinds of syllables!

Want some more work on syllables? 

Check out Buggy Syllables 


Plus, here's a blog post that explains more about why children should practice nonsense words:


Some: This post discusses the 6 syllable types and why these are important in learning to read. It includes a multi-syllable freebie!

A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie

Fluency is a big buzz word these days. I've seen it used for reading stories, decoding, and even math facts!

A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie: After extensive training on helping children read, we've narrowed fluency down to these 4 parts.

Since I attended my second session of the LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) training a few weeks ago, I've thought a lot about reading fluency.

A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie: After extensive training on helping children read, we've narrowed fluency down to these 4 parts.
LETRS training was one of the best PD training ever!

Studies indicate a direct relation between fluency and comprehension.

No surprises there, it makes sense that struggling readers would struggle with comprehension.  If they have a hard time figuring out the words, it's not very likely they will put together the meaning easily.

The experts define reading fluency with 4 phrases:

1. automaticity in word recognition
2. accurate word recognition
3. rate (speed) of reading
4. prosody, or expression

So, how do we build fluency?

  • Practice both phonetic patterns as well as sight words. Feel free to download my short a/ long a practice freebie by clicking the graphic above or click here: Vowel Word Work Freebie

  • Practice reading phrases and sentences a few words at a time. (Phrasing)

  • Practice reading simple paragraphs with expression.  

  • Oral Reading with a partner.  (using text of appropriate difficulty... "just right" text! 95 - 100% accuracy) 

  • Monitored Independent Reading

This full resource has all 5 vowels patterns: long and short vowels, with real words as well as nonsense words. Vowel Word Work: Word Sort and Fluency Practice

What do you do to build fluency?
A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie: After extensive training on helping children read, we've narrowed fluency down to these 4 parts.

You've Given the QPS, Now What?

My last post was about using the Quick Phonics Screener to find where students have reading deficits.  If the QPS doesn't show any deficits, that's fantastic! The next step would be to work on accuracy and fluency in reading.  (That's another post!) 
 More than likely, if a child was already struggling in reading (as indicated by DIBELS scores or by teacher observation) something will show up in the QPS.  That's where to start!  Quite often, there will be others with the same deficit, and you can group these kids together as a phonics "break out" group.  Of course, with older kids, it's best to use fancy words like "word study group" or even "linguistics".

There are TONS of free resources on the internet that will help you out.  

One of my favorites is from University of West Virginia. (West Virginia - Reading First)  This site has complete lessons from the warm up, phonological awareness/ articulation, letter/ sound correspondence, blending routines, word work, dictation, and reading text that focuses on the skill.  They also include word lists and texts for practicing!
Another great site for resources is The Florida Center for Reading Research.  I could spend hours on this site exploring everything!  Once you've figured out which skill needs work, just find an activity to go with it, and there you go!  
There are also tons of materials on Teachers Pay Teachers as well as Teachers Notebook.  I'm sure you'll be able to find plenty of ideas on Pinterest as well.  Here's a link to my Pinterest board on Word Work.
Don't forget these important parts of any phonics lesson:
  • Goal
  • Review
  • New Concept
  • Word Practice
  • Dictation
  • Word Meaning
  • Text Reading 

More Random Tidbits About Our Language Reading Teachers Should Know

I'm sharing more ideas that I learned from my LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) workshop from a couple of weeks ago.  The instructor, Carol Tolman, was brilliant and inspiring!  She really knows her stuff!  Here are more of the things I learned from her:

1. First grade Reading/ Literacy Instruction should be 40% Word Work. The other 60% should be Guided Reading, Writing, Oral Vocabulary, Oral Comprehension,  and Handwriting.  The word work percentage goes down slightly through the grades as the children get older.

2. Handwriting is 85% linguistics and 15% fine motor skills.

3. Fifty two studies have proved that phonological awareness is essential for reading success.  Quite often we need to back struggling readers up to this point.  (Phonological awareness are the skills that we could do "in the dark", before we start matching sounds to letters.  This refers to "Which word has the same sound as a in hat?" or "Which word rhymes with log?"

4. No word ends in a single s unless it's plural.  That's why words like horse and house have the silent e.  If house were spelled hous, it would mean "more than one hou".  I honestly can't think of any exceptions to this!

5. Words never end in j or v either.  That explains the spellings of words like have and huge.  Final e has several purposes, besides making a vowel long.

6.  The spelling tch occurs after a short vowel, with ch coming after a long vowel or "vowel team".  There are a few exceptions like such and much, but most words follow this pattern.  I never knew this, and I had a tch in my maiden name!  (After a short vowel, of course!)

7. Phonics should be taught through 6th grade (or later, if needed).  After 3rd grade, kids respond better when it's called Advanced Word Study or Linguistics, but it needs to be taught daily.

8. When "air writing", have children start with their shoulders, not arm or hand.  This makes a bigger neuron trace in the brain.

Random Tidbits About Our Language Reading Teachers Should Know

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a 4 day LETRS training session.  Letters stands for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling.  The recent 4 day session was the second of three sessions.  It's exhausting and overwhelming stuff, but it's amazing and quite valuable to know as a teacher of reading.  See this link for more information about my LETRS training.  Here are some interesting pieces of information I learned from some of the training.

1. Vowels are open, unconstricted sounds.  The English Language has 18 vowel sounds:  5 short vowel sounds; 5 long vowel sounds; 3 r controlled vowels /er/ (spelled er, ir, or ur), /ar/, and /or/; diphthongs /oi/, /ow/; and the vowel teams /aw/, /oo/ (as in book) and /oo/ as in (as in pool).  This doesn't include the schwa sound, which takes on a short u or a short i sound in unaccented syllables.

2. The English Language has 25 consonant sounds:  /p/,/b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /m/, /n/, /ng/, /f/, /v/, /th/ (unvoiced, as in three), /th/ (voiced, as in those), /s/, /z/, /sh/, /zh/ (as in pleasure), /ch/, /j/, /y/, /wh/, /w/, /h/, /l/, and /r/.

3. Fifty percent of words have short vowels.

4. The English language isn't as unpredictable as people think:

  • 50% of words are predictable by rule
  • 36% of words are predictable by rule with 1 error, usually a vowel
  • 10% of words will be predictable with morphology and word origin taken into account
  • Fewer than 4% of words are true oddities.
This is just the beginning of what I've learned from this training.  See also THIS POST.

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