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.
If you have time... check out the great linky party that The Lesson Lady is hosting at One Less Headache.