*possible examples only* – Activities will be tailored to meet the specific needs of students.
There are many different ways to teach literacy. Overall, I have found that a balanced approach with a variety of research-based, systematic, and explicit activities to be the most effective.
The activities will touch on all aspects of literacy development: phonological awareness, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and writing skills.
I try to make authentic and engaging activities that integrate skills and build on each other. I do not rely heavily on worksheets. Below are some of the activities that your child might do during tutoring sessions.
Each session, we will spend some time reading. We’ll read instructional level books, quality literature, and chapter books.
We’ll notice rhyming words and spelling patterns, work on using expression to match the text, practice reading skills, make predictions and connections, and practice retelling the story. As a result, we’ll work on comprehension and learn new vocabulary words.
Books will often be sent home to borrow and share with families.
Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds. We’ll listen carefully to words to hear each individual sound. We’ll blend the sounds together and take them apart. We’ll practice removing sounds and adding new sounds in order to make new words. We’ll pay attention to the sounds that are heard at the beginning, middle, and ending of a word. We’ll discover that sometimes letters work together to make just one sound and that although the word “fish” has 4 letters it only has 3 sounds! Over time, we’ll link these sounds to spelling patterns.
Fluency has many different components: accuracy, rate, and prosody (expression, tone, inflection). Fluent readers can read most of the words automatically, read smoothly at an appropriate pace for the particular text, and can change their voice to match the punctuation or context as needed.
Students become fluent readers through direct instruction, repeated practice, and by hearing other fluent readers read aloud.
We’ll work on timed fluency readings of individual words, phrases, and reading passages and track progress over time. We’ll practice reading a variety of texts with expression and emphasis.
Build and create words with hands-on materials. Change words by removing or adding parts. Find small words in bigger words. Mix-up the letters and try to re-spell the word. Sort words into categories by examing the similarities and differences to see patterns. Put your knowledge of letter sounds into practice with specific word building activities and integrated through writing activities.
A solid foundation of phonics rules such as individual letter sounds, digraphs, and vowel teams, will help students apply this knowledge to a multitude of new words. We’ll learn a variety of phonics and spelling rules and discover that contrary to popular opinion, the English language is very consistent and reliable with far fewer exceptions to the rules than you might think.
Students will work on orthographic mapping (forming a letter-sound connection) of words, in particular, those tricky “exception-to-the-rule-words,” in order to help store the unique spelling of these words into long-term memory.
Students will practice decoding silly or nonsense words in order to apply those word attack skills to unknown words in reading. They’ll gain confidence with the realization that knowing word families and common spelling patterns helps us to recognize and spell many similar words! We’ll learn that knowing how to split words into syllables can both help us to read new words and know how to spell them. We’ll recognize that big words that look tricky often have smaller chunks in them that we already know or can decode.
We’ll learn about morphemes (the smallest unit of meaning in a word) and discover how things like prefixes and suffixes can help us read, spell, and understand words.
Put your skills into practice! We might write a poem or a letter, make a list, respond to a book we read, or work on writing a story. Writing is a great time to practice our knowledge of letter sounds and spelling patterns as we put our ideas onto paper.
If writing is your child’s specific need, we’ll practice planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing various types of writing. We’ll practice things like effective sentence formation and word choice, writing for different purposes, and writing conventions like grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Learn through playing! Games are a great way to review and practice skills in a fun way. Games will occasionally be used to reinforce skills or to break up longer work sessions.
To Practice at Home… *At-home recommendations may look different for each student.*
Words that appear often in text are called “high-frequency words.” Once students can recognize those high-frequency words automatically they have become “sight words.” Knowing these words by sight, rather than having to decode them each time is helpful for reading fluency. I do not expect students to memorize high-frequency words. Instead, I ask students to have repeated practice with assigned words to gain fluency and automatically and reinforce the word study done in sessions.
Daily reading is key to becoming a strong, fluent, and confident reader. Please make the time to read with your child often.
Please encourage your child to read daily at home. Sit with them to help and to witness their progress! Track the words with your finger while reading aloud. Help them as needed. Take turns reading so that they can hear what fluent reading sounds like.
The rhyme and rhythm of poetry are great for developing fluent readers. Most students will receive a poetry book with new poems added on a regular basis. Read them again, and again, and….again! Fluency fully develops with repeated readings.
Poems, books, and reading passages will form your child’s home reading work but please also read books that you have at home or make a visit to the library.
In general, my tutoring style is not worksheet based. Traditional worksheets will be given as occasional homework activities. Any worksheets given will directly relate to skills practiced during tutoring sessions and will target key areas of need.