Monday, May 27, 2013
Teaching with word families...this may be a no brainer but here we go!
I was recently at a wonderful seminar in San Antonio on Right Brained Learners etc. One of the points the speaker wanted us to take away from the seminar was to make sure we were teaching in word families. Now I understand the pros of word families and the cons. What about decoding? Can the kids read or are they memorizing? How will they branch out from word families to other words? Well, the speaker wanted us to remember that children can only accomplish so many tasks at a time and giving a child a word family versus a bunch of words to decode cuts down significantly on the number of tasks to complete, thus making the child more successful and building confidence in spelling and reading. So I came back from my seminar and took out my word family dry erase cards from Lakeshore. I introduced how to use them and what do you know kiddos that had not been taught about word families were able to come up with many words and stay with me when I gave them more. They had so much fun finding out the words that belong to the different families that it became more of a confidence builder than a worry about memorizing. The children could still decode like I taught them, they did not forget. The kids who are reading are still reading without memorizing and working on fluency and best of all the kiddos are learning! So now to find a balance between decoding skills and word families. I will be using both from now on. I have found the word family instruction to be most beneficial to my remedial students, the ones who are not yet truly reading. Cutting out a few steps has helped them to feel successful and actually start to put words together on their own. I am also using my differentiated spelling unit with them and this helps with the decoding aspect. I have a differentiated spelling freebie in my TpT store for you to download and see if this is anything you can use next year.I guess the jist of it is that here is another way we can differentiate instruction for our students to help with reading instruction. So, for next year I have started writing some word family readers to add to my literacy centers during reading groups. They are $1 in my TpT store: -at word family minibook What are some of your favorite ways to teach with word families, decoding and phonics? Till next time, Christine