Sunday, November 9, 2014

Routine, Templates and Fluency, OH MY!

Every time I switch schools (which has been often, thank you budget cuts) I get asked about how I help my students increase their fluency and boost their reading scores so much throughout the year. There is one strategy I use that I think plays a huge role in my students fluency: Templates!

Templates, for those of you who are unfamiliar, are a quick choral "warm-up" that helps students build fluency. They also mimic DIBELS and EasyCBM which are used for a lot of progress monitoring. It helps students get familiar with this process. 

One thing I love about using templates is that they are totally adaptable to students needs and they build throughout the year. At the beginning of the year I just do a row of letters and maybe a row of CVC words to assess my students current blending capabilities. As the year progresses I add nonsense words, word families, blends, sight words, vocabulary and even sentences. 

Templates also help hold all students accountable. Because it is choral and repetitive (we keep the same template for a full week), even students who struggle are able and expected to participate. If all students are not participating, as a class we start over. 

So here is what my template currently looks like! Like I said, at the beginning of the year it is just letters and maybe some CVC blending practice. The word family and sight words correlate to our Storytown curriculum and change as we change. But the best part about this is that it is totally adaptable to your curriculum and needs. 

**Note: I choose letters (even for nonsense words) that I know my students struggle with**


It takes about 5-10 minutes first thing in the morning. Here is how I do it:

To get started I use a call and response. 

T: Eyes up
S: (repeat)
T: Let's go!
S: (repeat)

Letters: I use a pointer for each letter. Students say the letter name and sound. We start slow at first, but try to speed up as the week progresses and we get more familiar with the new template.

Word Family/Blend: For this template we were working on the -all word family. I like to underline the word family so that students start to recognize it in words. We then sound out the word and then blend it together, but instead of sounding out each individual letter, we sound out the word family together. Students would say  /k/. /all/. call. 

Nonsense words: I am a little hesitant to do nonsense words because it feels wrong teaching students how to read words that are not real. However, I think it is good blending practice so I do use them early on in the year while my students are still getting the hang of blending. I take them away as soon as they have mastered blending. This section is done the same as the word family section. Students say each individual sound and then blend it together to read the word. 

Sight Words: I do this part a little differently. I place the pointer in front of the word and pause for a couple seconds before sliding it under for students to read. The reason that I do this is to allow process time for students who need that extra couple seconds to identify the word. 

**Note: If I hear a mispronounced sound, blend or word I address it immediately by saying my turn and then modeling the correct pronunciation. I then say your turn and have students try it again on their own. I repeat until the mispronunciation is corrected.**

I do keep the colors the same. Letters are always red. Word families and blends are always green. Etc. I do this so that students know what to expect for each color. One time I accidentally switched the colors for our word family and our nonsense words and believe you me, I didn't hear the end of it for a whole week!

At the end of each "warm-up" I call 3 brave friends to pick a color that they want to do independently. They get so excited when it's their turn. They love showing how smart they are. Even my lowbies enjoy this because there is something that they can do and feel successful about. 

Easy Peasy. 

My students love this. I also allow students to practice template during Daily 5 time. Students take turns being the teacher and walking a small group through the template. I love seeing them practicing. I also love hearing them quote me. "Ooh. I need all eyes on me. Let's try that again." --> Do I really say that that often!?

 (usually more kids are participating but of course not the day I decided to take the picture)


There you have it. That's my top secret strategy. I would love to hear what you think if you decide to give it a try (or if you already do something similar)! 

3 comments:

  1. This sounds very similar to ECRI, even the my turn, your turn corrections, and 3 individual turns. Have you used that in the past?

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are some excellent exercises, thanks for sharing! I really enjoy reading what other teachers come up with and your blog is especially helpful. Right now I need to come up with several tasks and games to finally complete my teaching practice. It’s a little difficult since I have to study at the same time. Maybe I should get essay paper help to have more time for teaching. As much as I adore kids it’s a challenge to make lesson both productive and entertaining. But it seems like you don’t have such problem. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

share your thoughts...