Instructional Decision-Making Before Reading During/After Reading Letter/Word Work Reading/Writing Connections

Facilitator Notes


How does word work support struggling readers in their reading and writing?

Isolated practice of skills is important in learning any complex process, such as a sport or a musical instrument.  For example, practicing dribbling and shooting are essential for being a good basketball player.  Once we start playing the game, we need these skills to be automatic, so we can turn the focus of our attention to strategy – when to shoot, how to change plans based on the positions of our teammates and opponents.

The same is true in learning to read. We take a few minutes each lesson to explicitly teach children how words work.   We teach and demonstrate ways to solve words quickly and efficiently, and we provide opportunities for children to practice these approaches through hands-on activities, such as using magnetic letters and sorting.  This short, explicit instruction is important for struggling readers and writers, so they can focus their full attention on these techniques. Then we always take this learning back to how it is applied in reading and writing, spending most of our time in small group lessons guiding children while they read and write connected text.  As demonstrated in the examples below, we coordinate what we teach in word work with the needs we are observing in children’s reading and writing.