Adventures in Literacy Land: intervention

Showing posts with label intervention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intervention. Show all posts

From Striving to Thriving: Book Match Relentlessly!

You've seen those students in your classroom - the ones who roam around looking for the "perfect book" to read. They pick up the ones that everyone else is reading, but you know they can't read them. Then they get frustrated because they just can't seem to find a good fit book. Anger sets in because they know they can't read and do what everyone else is doing. What do you do?
For some readers, we have to work extra hard to find the books they want to read. Book Matching must happen throughout the school year to help those striving readers become thriving readers!
Now that we have gained trust with our students, it's time to teach them how to find and enjoy reading at a whole new level! Though this chapter seemed like a "no-brainer" for me, I realized I had been book matching all wrong. Find out the BEST ways to get the right books in your students' hands!



Volume reading builds background knowledge, increases vocabulary, improves writing, and develops empathy.  Voluminous, engaged reading is the best intervention for struggling, striving readers. Join us as we discuss Stephanie Harvey and Annie Ward's book, From Striving to Thriving.
"The best intervention is a good book."

Volume reading is crucial to transforming striving readers into thriving readers, say Stephanie Harvey and Annie Ward. They believe that voluminous, pleasurable reading is the key to literacy development. In this post we'll look at Chapter Four, "Pump Up the Reading Volume." The authors discuss how voluminous reading changes lives, reasons to add more reading to our day, how to build in more reading time, and review the research.

Analyzing Reading Behaviors: A MUST for Every Teacher of Reading

One practice every teacher needs to do is analyze his/her students' reading behaviors. Kid watching can tell us a lot about student understandings. Check out this post to learn more.

How can you tell a student is reading a text that is too hard? What signs do children give that they've met their limit? To learn the "look fors", head over to Comprehension Connection where you'll find this blog post. (it has been relocated to Carla's blog). 

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.


Making Decoding Strategies Automatic: 3 Easy Steps

Making Decoding Strategies Automatic:  3 Easy Steps
Hello, Everyone.  This is Cathy from Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl.  I am a reading specialist in a K-2 school.  I do both pull-out interventions and coaching, but have a soft spot for my pull-out kids. Two of my students this year are first grade students diagnosed with a "learning disability." (My undergraduate degree is in special education, so you know I love them.) They are the highlight of my day...and I won't deny I'd love to teach them all day!

When we started in late fall, these two were on a Level B and as of March they were moving into a Level D.  THEN, we hit a wall.  The D to E wall.  E seems to be the time when students are faced with lots of long vowel words, blends and digraphs, and word endings.  Here's what I know:  they can decode almost any word, IF I ask them questions and guide them.

For example, If they come to the word "gate."

     Me:  What do you know?        
Justin:  There is an "e" on the end?
     Me:  What does that mean?      
Justin:  The "e" makes the "a" says it's name.
     Me:  So, what is the word?      
Justin:  /g/ /a-a-a-a/ /t/,  gate.
     Me:  Great job!

What can I do?

My greatest challenge is getting the students to have their own internal dialog when using decoding strategies.  After a conversation with my Assistant Principal, we decided to try and practice the automaticity of the decoding strategies.  What does that mean?  I want them to come to an unknown word and think strategy first.  I have always "taught" and "practiced" the strategies, but I'm taking it one step farther.

1.  Play "Slap Jack"

I created a strip of the 3 strategies they seemed to need the most.  I chose 1 known and 2 unknown strategies.  We had been using CVC Sliders to practice our "slide and sound" with cvc words.   They have gotten pretty consistent with that strategy, so that became their "known" strategy.  The second strategy was the silent e "making the vowel say it's name (most of the time)."  We have talked about this strategy, but they needed concentrated practice with it.  The final strategy was "chop the endings."  We covered up or "chopped off" the endings to look at the base word for decoding.  To begin, I wrote 5 words for each strategy on an index card and when I flashed the card, they had to "slap the strategy" they would use to decode the word.  THEY DID NOT DECODE THE WORD.  This wasn't a decoding lesson, it was a strategy lesson.  We played this game for a week.  I let them sit side-by-side and slap the strategy together, but by the end of the week it was a race.  I wanted the strategy to be automatic.  The video below is Justin identifying the strategy for me.  (He said he didn't want to slap it, if it wasn't a game.  He thought he looked silly doing it alone.)
I hate that the video doesn't show all the strategies, but you get the idea.  By the end of the week, he was pointing to the strategy and saying the name of it.  That's what I want:  automaticity.

2.  Sort 

Part 1, we sorted with the cards from the week before.  I gave them the cards to sort under the strategy mat.  Yes, I should have made the cards smaller.  Lucky for you, I made small cards for you at the end of the post.  They would sort the cards as quickly as they could, then they would "prove" the cards belonged in that column.  They are still not reading the cards, they are just choosing a strategy.  Part 2, was a sort sheet.  This was an independent activity at the end of the week, but the students were still asked to "prove" the word belonged.  I also wanted to send a sample of a competed sort home to their parents.

3.  Read.

Finally, we read sentences I constructed with multiple strategies in each sentence.  As they came to an underlined word, they touched the strategy on the mat and then decoded the word.  They did a great job.  My favorite moment was when looking at the word "running" Justin said, "After I chop the ending, I can see a word to "slide and sound."  WOW...that's a moment, if you ask me.

I made a Decoding Strategy FREEBIE set for this idea.  


Chaining with Jenn from Reading in Room 11

Hello Literacy Land Friends!  I’m Jenn from Reading in Room 11, and I am thrilled to be a guest blogger at Adventures in Literacy Land. I have been a K-5 Instructional Specialist for 12 years and I am excited to share one of my favorite intervention activities with you - chaining!
This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!

What is chaining?
Chaining is a sequence of words that can be built by changing one sound at a time.
For example: at → cat → cot → hot → hat → pat → pan → an

When do you use it?
If you are a classroom teacher, chaining is a great warm up or word work activity before reading a book.

Chaining can also be incorporated into a specific intervention for students.

What materials do you need?
One of the great things about chaining is that you can use a variety of materials.  Some examples are white boards, magnetic letters, or cut up letters. My favorite are the blue and red letters seen below from Really Good Stuff.
This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!
How does it work?
Choose the skill: The chains that you choose are dependent on your students and their needs.  Ideally, the words in the chains will follow a specific pattern that students will find in the text that they are reading (ex. short a, digraphs, silent e words).  If you are using chaining as an intervention, then the pattern should be the student’s skill deficit.

Once you have chosen the skill, gather your materials.

This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!

Step 1:
Ask the student to make a word, for example “cat” Have the student tap each letter and say the sound ”c-a-t”.  Then they can run their finger underneath and say the word “cat.”
This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!

Step 2:
Tell the student to change a sound so that “cat” says “cot” and repeat step 2.  Repeat these steps until you have done 7-10 word chains.
This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!

Bonus Tips:
When chaining, it is important to only change one sound/spelling at a time.

There are three ways to change the word.
  • Change a sound: “Change a sound so that cot says hot
  • Adding a sound: “Add a sound so that at says cat
  • Deleting a sound: “Take a sound away so that pan says an

If you are working on long vowels with a silent e, below is a picture of a trick we use at my school when having students chain.  It is a great cue that the vowel will need to say its name, and that the silent e does not make a sound.

This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!
Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope that you area able to use chaining as an easy intervention with your students.  Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Pin for later:
This easy intervention is perfect for helping students see relationships in words. It is great for all ages!


Getting Ready For Kindergarten Literacy Learning

Hello everyone, Tara from Looney's Literacy here. Welcome back to school if you've started and even if you haven't,  I wish you all the best year yet!

I always love this time of year because everyone is so eager to be back. Everyone has rested and rejuvenated. We're learning rules and procedures and we're trying to create a safe culture in our building. I wanted to share some insight I've gained over the years and just this past week which was our first week back.

As an interventionist,  in a building-wide  Title I  district we no longer have criteria for students to qualify for Reading or Math Title I services. They are all Title I, including the staff! Because of this change, we've had to really rethink who receives small group pull-out services and who receives individual services.

Over the past couple of years we've used a literacy learning continuum, MAP & SAT scores  and BOY / MOY  benchmarks for service recommendations.  We have grade level team meetings twice a month to discuss any formative assessment data and who needs extra support.

So today, I'm going to discuss Kindergarten literacy learning and how we determine needs for extra support at the beginning if the year. I can't stress enough,  the importance of developmental milestone awareness. Developmental milestones that include both fine and gross motor development, speech and language development, social and emotional development, and brain development. (They really did know what they were doing when they included child development & psychology as  required courses in the Education Department.)

While literacy learning  is not a linear path, there are developmental milestones that need to be in place to help literacy learning become a  little easier. I like to observe Kindergarten for a week or so to see if I notice recurring behaviors that might raise some red flags regarding some of these developmental milestones. I make sure to see them using a writing utensil (for correct tri-pod grasp), setting on the carpet (spacial awareness & sensory seeking ), participating during their brain break (gross motor activity - because of time constraint I'm unable to observe during recess and P. E. but if I have concerns I ask the teachers about these times), during  independent work time an at the end of the day (social & emotional). Here's a brief list of things I watch for (click image to download document):

I record my observations on this sheet:

At our fist team meeting we'll discuss the teachers' observations and concerns and my observations and concerns. Then we decide how we're going to address the needs. Sometimes it's just a suggested strategy that a teacher uses in the classroom. If needed, I  might work with a small group in the classroom or pull-out. In the most severe cases,  we'll pull out individual students. Some examples of severe cases we've had in the past include, unable to speak in complete age- appropriate sentences, students who have a fist grasp with writing utensils, unable to use scissors, unable to write their name, unable to hear rhymes, etc. 

Stay tuned for more literacy learning strategies for K-6th,  as the beginning of the year continues to progress. You be able to find those here. 


Crafting Sentences Video and Freebie

 One year I was working with a group of first graders who were struggling with writing a complete sentence.  They were very good at using a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and ending punctuation at the end of the sentence.  However, the middle part of the sentence was a little fuzzy for them.  The question I asked myself was, "How do I teach writing a complete thought to first graders?"

Instead of typing everything I did, I created a screen cast showing you the Smart Board Notebook I created to go with this lesson.  Click the video below for the lesson.  I also put up my Notebook file on SMART Exchange, and you can check out the file by clicking HERE.  Disclaimer:  I know that this doesn't work for every type of sentence, but it was great beginning for us to start writing complete thoughts.

To get the sentence graphic organizer and lesson plan I used with the lesson, click the image below.

crafting sentences

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer!

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Trying Something New with RTI Tier 1 Groups

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead. I thought it would be a good time, since it is about 6 weeks from the end of the year (for me), to let you know that I have been trying something new with my RTI tier 1 groups.

For the last few years, I have felt that spelling has been a weakness for many of my students.  Despite the amazing help the reading specialists offer with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 students, and attempting to obtain support for the students from the Student Success Team, students' spelling skills seem to only see a  minimal improvement. As the classroom teacher, I am ultimately responsible for the progress for all students, who meet with meet during Language Arts Tier 1 groups.

 Our spelling program is the one that comes with the McMillan McGraw Hill Treasures program, circa about 2006 or so. All of the classroom teachers use the on level spelling lists included in the program and then to differentiate, we have created more challenging lists and lists with fewer spelling variations.

My school doesn't use Wilson or Fundations but I have been to introductory Wilson Training and to Fundations level 1 and 2 training.  I decide to incorporate a modified version of Fundations level 2 with my RTI tier 1 groups this year and track spelling progress.

The Fundations program is from the Wilson Language Institute. You can learn more about it from my blog post here.  I meet with small groups for 20-30 minutes a day up to four times a week. At the beginning of the year all groups learned the Fundations drill sounds, used the magnetic letter board to work on sounds and spelling, learned syllable types, worked on decoding in a journal, and practiced grammar too.  Around December I added in connected text reading once or twice a week. The students also rotated through learning centers every day that addressed comprehension skills, vocabulary , fluency, phonics, grammar and writing. If I felt a certain group of students needed some extra help with a topic or concept, I also addressed it in small groups in lieu of Fundations from time to time. So I would call my Fundations work with my RTI Tier 1 groups a very loose adaptation of the program, but the best I could do with the number of reading groups I had to meet with on a regular basis (4), in the time I had (about 100 minutes, including mini lessons, center directions, wrap ups, etc.) and being the only teacher in the room.

At the beginning of the year I gave my students the Primary Spelling Inventory. I looked at the possible points for all the different phonics sounds in the inventory and came up with a goal for the % encoded correctly that I wanted most students to reach. My goal was to have 80% of my students score 80% or more by the end of the year. In September 44% scored above 80%. So I hoped to double that by June, keeping in mind the spelling inventory was only one  measure of success and I hoped to see improvement especially in my student's spelling in their writing. Around February 1st, I gave the spelling inventory again to assess progress so far and I was thrilled. Already 94% of my students had a score above 80%- well above my end of the year goal and only at the beginning of February. At that time 72% of the class was also scoring 90% or higher. Nice! Now, we still have 6 weeks left of the school year, so I haven't given the inventory for the final time yet but I am confident the students will do amazing. Additionally, looking at some writing samples I saved from the fall, and the first part of their writing journals, students definitely have come a long way in their spelling.

I definitely plan to continue using Fundations with my Tier 1 group next year. I know this year was a small sample of students, and every class is different, but I hope to see similar improvements in my students' decoding skills again at the end of next year.

What have you tried that is new this year? How did you feel it has gone? How about next year- plan to try something new? Comment below and let us know!



What is Wilson? An Overview by Reading and Writing Redhead

Hey everyone, it's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead! I'm stopping by to share some info with you about Wilson and the Wilson Language programs!

Have you heard of Wilson but are not sure what it is? Have you heard of other schools that have Wilson certified reading specialists, a school is hiring but wants someone with Wilson certification, or your child's school offers Wilson intervention but  you are not clear on what it is? Or do you just want a refresher on Wilson? Well, this update is for you! I know when I was a newer teacher I kept hearing that Wilson, OG (Orton-Gillingham), or LiPS would be possible interventions for some of my students who were struggling with reading, but I did not know what those were, so I figured a little summary of what I now know might help someone.

The Wilson Language Institute was found by Barbara Wilson, who was a  special education teacher and tutor. She developed it while she was working at Mass General Hospital's Language Disorder Unit in order to teach students the structure of words in a systematic and cumulative manner so that they can gain the confidence that they will be able to become skilled readers. After Wilson became successful, the focus turned to training educators so they could implement Wilson in their own schools.
Wilson offers several programs. The most intensive is the research-based Wilson Reading System (WRS), which is most often used to support students with learning disabilities, and it's recommended that educators spend 60-90 minutes working with students in small groups (6 or less) every day. It is based on the principles of Orton-Gillingham. WRS directly teaches the structure of the language for decoding and encoding and also addresses fluency and comprehension.  It also has multisensory aspects and has been used successfully to help both children and adults master English. WRS has 2 levels of vocabulary that makes it appropriate for younger students as well as older students and adults.

Wilson emphasizes that it is essential for schools to have trained and certified teachers to implement the system, and they offer training at their headquarters in Oxford, MA, as well as around the countries. Many school districts hire Wilson to come and train their entire staff or their reading teachers. Click here to see an overview of the multi-tiered system of support that the Wilson Reading System offers.

Wilson collected data for more than ten years from school districts that were experiencing success using WRS. This led to the creation of Fundations®, a research-based program that brings instruction to general education classrooms, so that the Wilson philosophy can be brought to all students K-3. Fundations® instruction is explicit, cumulative, systematic and multi-sensory.

Wilson also has a program for older students (grade 4 and up and adults) who do not need intensive intervention but have reading difficulties. The program is Just Words®, and it provides explicit decoding and spelling instruction. Just Words "accelerates the delivery of the Wilson Reading System®" in a way that is appropriate for older students and it is popular as a second tier intervention in schools or a program for adult learning centers. 

Finally, there is a program called Wilson Fluency/Basic® which provides supplemental explicit fluency instruction and reading practice. This allows students to practice applying skills with connected text. It is aligned with the other Wilson programs and provides practice with 200-250 word passages for students to improve their fluency.

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the 3 day Wilson introductory training a few years ago and was hooked. It was introductory training for WRS. We went through sample lessons, acting as students, and learned how to set up our own lessons and plan (although most of the plans are pretty much done for you, there are ways to individualize it to your students' needs so you do have to do a small amount of prep). 

My  favorite aspect of WRS was the use of the magnetic letter boards. Daily practice making words and reviewing the sounds and phonics and spelling rules that have already been taught make perfect sense. Plus, one of the weaknesses of so many students is encoding. Some other informal or teacher made (like some I made myself) interventions are focused on decoding and don't offer practice with encoding.

Last summer and fall I also went to Fundations® training. I loved the Wilson training, but since I am a general education teacher with a second grade class, it did not make sense to continue to try to pursue that certification. Fundations® is for teachers like me and intervention specialists who work in the classroom. It especially fits in great with RTI and can be used for all three tiers, in whatever way is needed. Fundations® does a lot with the magnetic letter boards, but also we drill sounds at the beginning of each lesson (a sound drill is reading the letter, a key word, and then the sound it makes and showing a card to the students, having them repeat it back). It is great practice and I feel it really helps the kids get that knowledge of the sound/spelling combinations. PLUS they LOVE it because after the first few weeks, the children get to be the drill leaders themselves! I have a puppet named Echo (that comes with the program) and the children hold the puppet and lead the drill, and the other students "echo" what Echo and the drill leader have just said. Fundations® also has  specific spelling practice and writing practice and also has a somewhat informal handwriting piece. There is also fluency work as well.

Personally, I have not been able to fully implement Fundations® because my school is tied to the old Treasures program and I have to spend time each day on that, and I still need to teach all the grammar and mechanics that is required in second grade. Additionally I bought materials myself so I only have enough for groups of 5 students, so I ended up doing Fundations® lessons during RTI tier one with my reading groups. However, I feel like these students are really doing well with it and I am assessing them throughout the year and looking to compare our DIBELS data to data from last year before I implemented Fundations®.

What reading intervention programs are you familiar with? Which ones have you used and what do you think works best? 

Emily, The OG Tutor, has some great blog posts relating to Orton Gillingham. Check them out here:

You can find more topics under the heading "Intervention" on our Topics page. Click here to see that page.


RTI Documentation

Hello everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers!
I'm sharing a post with you today that I had on my blog awhile back.  It's had a lot of views and I know people are always interested in how they can better document interventions.  So, I am going to share with you a form that I created to help me keep track!

I created an RTI progress monitoring freebie and have had people ask exactly how I use it.  I have been documenting and thought I would share a student that I previously wrote a post about.  This student has been struggling with sight words in her reading.  She gets many of them confused and they are definitely not automatic in her reading.  This student is a good artist and loves to draw so I wanted to use her strengths to help her get excited about learning these words that are difficult for her.  You can check out the blog post {here} for more information.
The first page of the progress monitoring plan is basic information.  This page describes the students strengths/weaknesses, skills needed to succeed, and intervention skills that you will be specifically working on.  This page also allows you to document what the intervention will be, who is providing the intervention, how often, and what assessments you will use to monitor the progress.  Here is a sample of my student struggling with sight words. *Here is my disclaimer... I typed this for the purpose of this blog post.  I usually just hand write the documentation but I wanted you to be able to read it- my handwriting is not the best thanks to breaking my arm when I was younger:(
Here is the first page.
When I make copies, I copy page 1 and page 2 back to back.  Page 2 is where I record the Assessment Data and my progress monitoring notes.  For this intervention, I am using my sight word lists (I use Lucy Calkins list from The Teachers College of Reading and Writing).  You can check out my post here that tells why I choose to use her list over Dolch and Fry.  I also am looking at her Reading Benchmark Book running record to see if she is reading the sight words correctly in text.
Page 3 is where I do my daily documentation.  This example is over about a month.  Unfortunately, I didn't see B. L. as much as I had hoped.  She was sick for a few days and I was out with a sick child for a couple days as well.  And- I think we had a couple of snow days... For her intervention I made different flashcards.  Again, to learn more about the intervention and how I made the flashcards, you can go to this blog post.
I hope this helps give you some ideas of possible ways you can use this form to document.  Remember, this is only one example for one specific student.  This form can be used with just about any intervention you may need to do.
If you would like to download this sample, just click {here}.  
For a free blank copy you can click on the picture below.
Please let me know if you have additional questions:)