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In the previous post, I talked about how I structure a reading lesson with my kids in different grades. Apart from the phonics lesson from your program of choice, a parent can do other activities to cement the reading lesson. (These, like most everything else I mentioned, has been gleaned from Howard Street Tutoring Manual.)
SYLLABLE PATTERN SORTS
This is where my struggling readers have hit the wall. When you come up on an “a”, if you don’t know syllable patterns, you have no idea what sound it is except to try them ALL. But if you know how syllables work if they follow a CVC, CVCe, CVr, CVVC pattern, you are much further down the road. Sound Beginnings does teach those rules, but not soon enough for my readers and not in such a way that they start to see the patterns on their own and use them in the reading.
So here’s how they work. The picture at the start of this post is for the beginning E sound sort. But let’s assume I started with A sounds.
- I would put title cards CAT, LAKE, and CAR at the top of the work area.
- I would have about 12 cards for those three patterns (ideally chosen from his reading), four words for each pattern (example: tap, bad, pan, sag–cake, made, tame, lane–barn, part, tar, card). There’s no need to laminate or do anything fancier than cut up cardstock or paper.
- I would place the first row of sorting cards under the right heading and see if the child discovers the pattern. I shuffle the stack and allow the child to finish the sort.
- Then I move any misplaced cards and we read them top to bottom to check our work.
- We continue over a series of sessions until he “gets” how I know where to put everything and what it says.
- Once he can do the activity without mistakes, I might add a new pattern heading like RAIN.
- If I want to make it tougher, I can put in a (?) heading for words that don’t fit under any of the headings I’ve given.
So here are the column headers for each pattern within a vowel:
A: cat, lake, park, rain, day, fall, (?)
E: pet, feet, he, meat, head, herd, (?)
I: hit, tide, right, girl, wild, by
O: top, go, moon, rope, boat, book, told, boil
U: bug, cute, blue, hurt, knew, fruit
But, the most important thing to remember is to connect these patterns with syllables in the reading you are doing with the child. Otherwise, it remains in a different department in his brain. If he runs up on the sentence, “Bob will go to the zoo,” stop and talk with your child about what column those “o” words were sorted into. “This word works like the the ZOO column.”