Using Fairy Tales to Enhance Comprehension Skills

Fairy tales aren't just for younger students! Students of all ages can benefit from these stories we all know and love!


When teaching a new comprehension skill, many times I use fairy tales since they are a familiar story to many children. We don't have to take the time to think about the plot of the story and can focus on that skill.

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Student-Created Gingerbread Variations

Students worked in groups to create their own gingerbread character and story elements to accompany it.
I'm sure many of you have read multiple versions of The Gingerbread Man story.  I decided to take it a step further this year and have my kids work in teams to create their own gingerbread story.

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R-Controlled Vowels: Success Can Be Found on the Farm

R-controlled vowels can be difficult for emergent readers and writers. Connecting the letters and sounds to the farm can make it a little easier.
Historically, students in my school have shown several weaknesses on the PALS Spelling test: ng/nk, r-controlled vowels, vce, and vowel pairs. Each of these spelling patterns have "rules," but they aren't really rules.  Rules shouldn't be broken and, as you know, spelling rules are broken all the time, but it can give a student a place to start. BUT, R-controlled vowels are especially hard because there aren't really any rules.

On the Farm

-AR and -OR are the easiest of the r-controlled vowels.  They are easily attached to sounds: -AR, as in farm, barn, and garden, and -OR, as in corn, horse, and pork. The other 3 r-controlled vowels are harder for a reason: they sound the same.
-ER, as in herd, water, feather, and spider. 
-IR, as in firl, bird, chirp, and birth. 
-UR, as in purr, turkey, and turnip.
The picture shows a rooster saying, "er, ir, ur." You have to say it like you are crowing, "er, ir, ur." (Funny story, I had a teacher assistant who was in charge of an intervention group came to me and said, "I am not sure why the rooster saying cock-a-doodle-do helps the students." Please say it like they are actually crowing.

Anchor Charts

R-controlled vowels can be difficult for emergent readers and writers. Connecting the letters and sounds to the farm can make it a little easier.

I am a huge proponent of Anchor Charts. They are are great way to assist students. When we are doing a spelling intervention, students are shown an anchor chart each week and they glue that anchor chart into that their intervention notebook. This procedure brings their attention twice to the anchor chart.

Sort

R-controlled vowels can be difficult for emergent readers and writers. Connecting the letters and sounds to the farm can make it a little easier.

During the week, students practice sorting the words, highlighting the r-controlled vowel orally and writing the sort. Students are given the word orally, they write the word on a sort chart and are asked to correct the sort, if necessary. In the sample above, the student had to erase and correct the the words twirl and third.  I believe by making the corrections themselves, students will remember it better.

Game

R-controlled vowels can be difficult for emergent readers and writers. Connecting the letters and sounds to the farm can make it a little easier.

Thursday is Game Day. Because the sounds for -ER, -IR, and -UR are not distinguishable, they need to see the words to make a clear connection between the spoken word and the letters. I made cards with 3 spellings for the words. Students choose a card and read the choices. IF the -AR and -OR are in the word, the student should defend his/her answer with "-AR like barn" or "-OR like corn." Unfortunately, there isn't a clear defense for -ER, -IR, and -OR. The students usually crow like a rooster and make their choice. If the student is correct, they move 2 spaces. If the student is incorrect, they are given the opportunity to correct the answer and move 1 space.

If you'd like a FREEBIE sample of the R-Controlled Weekly Pack, click the link or the picture below.









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R-controlled vowels can be difficult for emergent readers and writers. Connecting the letters and sounds to the farm can make it a little easier.
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