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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Word Work, the Reading Recovery Way -- Pt.3

It's about time, teachers, for another post about Word Word, the Reading Recovery Way. As a Reading Recovery teacher and literacy specialist, I have spent years collecting data and analyzing techniques to determine what works best for teaching my reluctant readers how to be successful.  These posts represent the sum total of my learning to date.  The steps I am offering have proven very successful with my students, and, hopefully, will bring you the same results.

Once your student has mastered the majority of her letters, begin working on high frequency words that she KNOWS.  To this end, I place a group of letters on the white board that make a word she knows.  

I start with 2 letter words.  This allows the student to learn the task quickly and easily.  At the board, I push the letter set to the center and tell her these letters make a word she knows.  I ask her to make that word.  Once that is accomplished, I ask her to "say it slowly and run your finger under it to check the sounds."  You may have to demonstrate this procedure.

The next step is to use 3 letter words that she knows.

Naturally, that is followed by 4 letter words.

This procedure continues until the task is completed easily.  I do not, typically, progress to 5, or more, letter words.  My goal is to have her manipulate the letters quickly and self-check that the letter sequence matches the sound sequence.  

These tasks are easily adapted to small group instruction.  In deference to time constraints, I place my letter sets in snack size zipper bags ahead of time.  As the students gain facility with the task, I up the ante by giving different words to each student.  We all know how "helpful" first graders can be to each other.  This step allows each student to be more independent.



  1. Thanks for this series of work work explanations. They are helpful and great reminders on how to break down the learning sequence.

    1. Thanks for affirming my intention. I'm so pleased they are helpful. Stay tuned. There are more to come!

  2. As the student progresses through this, do you ever use words that are almost known or stick to known words only using another time to teach words that are not yet known?

    1. I stay with known words. This phase is about convincing the child that she can make words with confidence and automaticity. Almost known words could undermine that intention. If, however, I were doing this with small groups of average achievers, I would supply almost known words after the task is WELL established.