Educators utilize diverse teaching strategies to facilitate students’ acquisition of literacy skills and motivate them to learn. These strategies should be consistent with the established objectives and students’ levels. Strategies may be applied to individual or small group work. It is possible to concentrate on the following objective: “Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts” (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2020, para. 22). This paper includes a brief description of the teaching strategies that can be used for Raymond and Amanda.
The two students have similar goals in their comprehension skills learning, so they can work in a small group. The activities described in this paper aim at the development of vocabulary and fluency. Therefore, before the activities are employed, the students are well-acquainted with the book and have reread it during guided reading. The book the students read is Winnie and Wilbur: Winnie the Witch by Thomas (2016). Retelling is an effective strategy that can be instrumental in building diverse comprehension skills (Sayeski & Paulsen, n.d.). When retelling, students can utilize the words they heard, read, or learned from the book, so their vocabulary will expand. They will also practice telling organized stories with a significant number of details. Retelling will be the basis of this activity, but it will be combined with another strategy (using graphic organizers). As recommended by Sayeski and Paulsen (n.d.), all strategies the teacher uses are not new to students who start working in groups. The teacher has practiced retelling and using organizers during classwork and guided reading activities.
The activity will involve reading to a partner, which presupposes collaboration and helps in developing fluency. Reading or rather performing to the class or a group of other students, as well as a partner, implies a greater degree of engagement on both sides (Michigan Virtual, 2018). During partner reading, students can sit shoulder-to-shoulder, which can make the activity more appealing to children and facilitate non-readers’ listening (The Balanced Literacy Diet, 2011). The non-reading student has a set of cards (graphic organizers) depicting some characters or story parts. The student takes a card once he or she hears the corresponding word. The set of cards contains pictures of the words and activities that are not mentioned in the book (or the reading part). Therefore, at the end of the first assignment, the student will have some unused cards, which should be noted by the teacher at the beginning of the activity.
When the reader is done with the assigned part, the partner starts retelling the story with the help of the cards organized during reading. The reader follows the one who is a retelling and consults the book, which is a type of rereading. The student with the book can help the partner or correct mistakes if any. When this task is completed, the partners switch roles, after the teacher rearranges the pictures to be organized by another student.
This type of activity can be practiced several times, and when students have no difficulty with the tasks mentioned above, they can be offered another assignment. The cards that are left can be used for defining and describing the activity. The students take turns describing the picture focusing on specific attributes without naming the word itself. For example, if a camel is depicted, students can mention that it is a yellowish animal that lives in deserts and can survive with little water for a long time.
On balance, reading comprehension strategies that are used with transitional and advanced readers should be appropriate and manageable. Small group work is an effective format for practicing reading (its fluency and accuracy), retelling, organizing ideas, and collaborating, which is an important social skill to be gained. Students can find these activities engaging as they involve an unusual position and a considerable degree of collaboration with peers, so they will be motivated to perform well.
The activity described above implements instructional strategies for building early literacy skills in several ways. First, students reread the text they know well, which helps them improve their fluency and makes them more confident. Retelling is instrumental in building necessary skills such as organizing ideas and utilizing new and known vocabulary. Importantly, when one student is retelling, the other one is listening carefully as the student is asked to help the partner and correct mistakes if any. Students are often engaged in such activities, which creates the necessary atmosphere, increases children’s attention, and facilitates learning. Pre-assessment data is valuable for the development of the plan as it guides the teacher’s choice of the most appropriate teaching strategies and materials. For instance, the pre-assessment activities mentioned during previous discussions, assist in identifying the gaps students’ needs to address (such as unknown words, ability to rhyme or retell, and others).
The reviewed videos provide helpful insights into various teaching strategies that are appropriate for both advanced and transitional readers. I will definitely use the ideas such as shoulder-to-shoulder partner reading or collaboration and performance. Rereading and performing to other students can be specifically helpful in developing fluency and confidence. Anna DiGilio (2019) also provides numerous helpful tips regarding the development of a deeper contextual understanding of the used books. I will try to develop these skills to help students improve their reading proficiency and grow as storytellers.
Anna DiGilio. (2019). Guided reading | Fluent readers lesson. Web.
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2020). English language arts standards » Language. Web.
Michigan Virtual. (2018). K-3 Essential 3, Bullet 3: Small Group Fluency Instruction Sample Video. Web.
Sayeski, K., & Paulsen, K. (n.d.). Early reading. Web.
The Balanced Literacy Diet. (2011). Partner reading: Developing reading fluency. Web.
Thomas, V. (2016). Winnie and Wilbur: Winnie the Witch. Oxford, England: OUP Oxford.