Joseph Rogers Primary School

November 16, 2015

Focused Literacy Instruction

I know we toss around many words about reading instruction: rigor, phonemic awareness, phonemes, fluency, phonics, guided reading, small groups and the list could go on and on. But have we really taken the time to figure out what these things mean and what they would really look like in our classrooms.

I was looking through some online articles about reading and ran across one that I felt had some great points on what we should be doing PreK-2nd grade daily in our literacy blocks.

The points below are the work of Emily Liscom of Education to the Core.

1. Sounds do not have /-uh/ on the end of the sound. This goes for “/b/, /c/, /d/, /f/, /g/, /h/, /j/, /k/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /q/, /r/, /s/, /t/, /v/, /w/, /y/, /z/. This also goes for /sh/, /ch/, /th/, etc. Also, /r/ is not /er/. When you say /-uh/ at the end of these phonemes, the kids are going to do it. Think about it when they are trying to sound out the word “dog.” You don’t realize it, but it is very difficult to made a word out of /duh/ /o/ /guh/. Now try (/d/ /o/ /g/) much better right? Now, try /er/ /a/ /tuh/. Seems like a foreign language right? It is supposed to be /r/ /a/ /t/. To a 5-6 year old, that would be pretty tough to figure out...

2. When you take a word and break it into its separate sounds, is most commonly called phoneme segmentation. You are teaching your students to ultimately become better writers. We break words down so they are able to say a word in their head, and sound it out. Eventually, this same strategy will be employed when they are writing on their own. [Segment] every day. I do this before every reading lesson, and it makes such a difference in the spelling and the writing.

3. When you take separate sounds and ask a child to say the word ... it is most commonly called blending. You are teaching your students to become better readers. We practice this skill explicitly so they are able to hear each sound in a word and then blend it together. They will eventually use this skill in their reading...

4. Know the difference between a word you can sound out and a word that you have to know. ...Make sure your kids know the difference as well.

5. Make your students track their print. ... Model it and make them do it. ...

6. Make it a habit to ask the student what they read after each page. And don’t just let them get away with I read about a ______. Ask them to tell you a detail and then a big idea of what they just read about. Even in the emergent readers…the kids can always talk about the picture...

7. When kids are reading, it is okay for them to stumble. Do not give them the words. When they can’t say a word, don’t say it for them. Give them a strategy. Let them sound-it-out, cover part of the word, chunk the word, look for a base word/compound word. They are going to have to be able to clarify before they are fluent, and that is a skill they are going to have to use on their own...If you give kids the words, they are going to depend on someone to give them the words...

8. When answering questions about the text, make your kids prove their answer with a page number. Make them write in their answer, “I found it on page ____.” Or for the higher ones, you could have them embed it into their answer such as, “On page _____ it says ________.” This helps your students make a habit of going back to reference the text to find the answers...

The link below has a document that has been shared with you many times, but I think it is a good time to share this with you again. This document was created by our district and gives an excellent outline for what a literacy block should look like in our classrooms. Remember we also have our own literacy resource right here in our school. Regina is always willing to help and answer any questions that you have about the literacy block or about writing. Please utilize her and her extensive training.

I say this time and time again. I truly believe you are the best teachers in Hawkins County. You are always willing to work things out and try new and better ways to reach and teach students. I appreciate that.


Calendar of Events

fun times at jrp

November 16 - fire drill; faculty meeting

November 17-18 - I will be out for Principal's Academy; If you need anything Mike or Regina will be able to help you.

November 19 - 1st grade parent involvement activity; 1st grade Thanksgiving lunch; 2nd grade field trip; CPR class 3:15-5:30

November 20 - end of canned food drive

November 24 - Shannon and I will be out in a.m for a meeting

November 25-27 - Thanksgiving Break

November 30 - December 14 - AimsWeb Testing

December 4 - Art Reception at Fort Henry Mall

December 7-11 - Benchmark (global) assessments

December 11 - writing assessments due; will meet during collaborative to score these

December 16 - Benchmark Spreadsheets due; SWOT due; Polar Express Day; SWPBS reward

December 17 - Abbreviated Day; Christmas Olympics more info to come from Cindi

December 18 - breakfast; focus on unpacking standards for Math


Every child should have a caring adult in their lives. And that's not always a biological parent or family member. It may be a friend or neighbor. Often times it is a teacher.

-J. Manchin