The foundation of
reading begins at an early age and transitions into an essential skill to
understand the real world. Educators play a significant role with instructing and
guiding students to establish the life skill “reading”. As an educator, to
support the delivery of instruction to students it is important to implement
research-based strategies. “The outcome of these decisions is critical: The
selection of programs and practices teachers use is one of the most important
factors in student achievement” (Kretlow, A. & Blatz, S., 2011). However,
all research-based strategies do not work for all students. Strategies must
meet the criteria to fulfill the literacy need of the student while supporting the
foundation of reading. The process of
learning to read should be fun and purposeful.
Connecting Research with Classroom
Rhyme Generation is an instructional strategy for emergent
readers, focusing on the development of phonemic awareness (Antonacci
& OCallaghan, 2012, pp. 6-8). Students are engaged in isolating, blending,
and manipulating sounds at different levels. Rhyme Generation primary purpose
is to direct students to build on manipulating onset and rime.
Rhyme Generation is conducted during literacy block. Teacher
may demonstrate the activity in the morning message followed by literacy time
with guided reading targeting the phonemic awareness skill. The trategy
supports the intervention and differentiated instruction for students that are
English language learners (ELL) and students with disability (SWD) by
scaffolding, oral and explicit instruction, content pictures, and using
multisensory materials (magnetic letters) to visualize the creation of the new
word. Overall, this strategy supports the enrichment of phonemic awareness.
The Scaffolding strategy supports phonemic awareness instruction for students in pre-school to
kindergarten. “Scaffolding is the intentional, strategic support that teachers
provide that allows children to complete a task they could not accomplish
independently” (Mcgee & Ukrainetz, 2009). Scaffolding supports differentiate
instruction per the amount of support each child need until they all have
mastered the skill without the use of scaffolding. The teacher determines the
supported task a student need to “respond correctly to the task” and
“internalize skills” to improve their performance independently used later
Using the task “isolation of phoneme beginnings”,
scaffolding consist of three levels to meet the literacy need of all students within
this skill. The teacher models all three levels of scaffolding within the
lesson. The three levels of scaffolding are minimal, moderate, and intense; “most
children need intense scaffolding when teachers first introduce the concept of
isolating first sounds in words or when they teach phonemes” (2009). This
activity of scaffolding delivers differentiated instruction for all students
(general, ELL, and SWD). With consistency of this practice, students can
demonstrate progress and segment phonemes in words.
Morning message goal is to “expose children to print in
meaningful ways, to help children witness the process of translating speech
into print, and to demonstrate for children that print carries meaning” (Wasik
& Hindman, 2011). The message also contributes to increase students’ awareness
of skills, modeling of speech-to-print and letter recognition. Morning message
is implemented in the daily schedule in early childhood classrooms.
The message board content is presented in a large group which
initiate the children to have conversations about scheduled events for the day
and learning experience within the classroom to name a few. Teachers deliver explicit
instruction by modeling the process of text construction and thinking process
which both support the foundation of students’ pre-literacy skills. Lastly,
differentiated instruction is implemented to meet the needs of each student in
developing their knowledge of print and speech relationship.
Poetry pen is an activity that support the strategy of
letter recognition. The goal of this activity is for students to identify the
target letter or letters using nursery rhymes or poems. The teacher will place
the rhymes and the target letter cards face up and give each student an
erasable marker. Students will work in pairs, taking turns. One student in the pair will select an
uppercase and lowercase letter card and name it, the opposite student will find
a rhyme and circle the target letter through the rhyme. Students will continue
until all rhymes have a target letter circled. This activity can be modified
for students that are aware of high frequency words circling within the rhymes.
(Florida Center for Research, 2014)
Treasure Chest is an explicit instructional strategy that focuses
on segmenting and blending sounds. “Its primary purpose is to provide students with multiple
opportunities to engage in sound play as they count phonemes and then
reconstruct them into words through oral blending” (Antonacci &
OCallaghan, 2012, pp. 22). Treasure chest activity addresses the literacy need
for all students.
The instruction for this activity can be differentiated by
primary grades as a class lesson. Also, instruction for students that are ELL
and SWD should be explicit, and repetitive to master the skill of blending and
separating sounds. With the use of audio instruction, picture cards, and “transforming the Treasure Chest
activity into a guessing game” (Antonacci & OCallaghan, 2012, pp.
25), ELL and SWD should strengthen their skills to become successful readers.
Syllable, Words, and
Syllable, words, and pictures activity supports the skill of
phonics. The purpose of this activity is for students to blend syllables in words
(Florida Center for Research, 2007). Students will combine syllables to form words
by playing a matching game. In addition, this activity supports the individual
needs of all students and implements scaffolding to help identify gain in
After evaluating the strategies using criteria that supports
the development of phonemic awareness and phonics, the following strategies are
ranked per highest to lowest score, Treasure Chest (20), Scaffolding (20),
Poetry Pen (19), Syllables, Words, and Pictures (17), Rhyme Generation (17),
and Morning Message Board (15). The top three strategies were selected because
they demonstrated how to target the critical skills for phonemic awareness and
phonics with fidelity. However, the other strategies are also influential with building
students’ literacy effectively.
Treasure Chest activity directs two skills segmenting and
blending. “When students
engage in segmenting and blending sounds, they are preparing for the decoding
and encoding of words” (Antonacci & OCallaghan, 2012, pp. 22).
Treasure Chest keep students actively engage with learning because they can
have fun while learning the skills of blending and segmenting, oral sounds, and
phoneme to “primary purpose is to provide students
with multiple opportunities to engage in sound play as they count phonemes and
then reconstruct them into words through oral blending” (Antonacci &
OCallaghan, 2012, pp. 22).
Scaffolding instruction supports the remediation of skills such
as identifying phonemes and isolation of phoneme beginning, which they may have
not grasped understanding during whole group instruction, “Scaffolding is the
intentional, strategic support that teachers provide that allows children to
complete a task they could not accomplish independent” (Mcgee & Ukrainetz,
2009). The instruction supports the differentiated need of early literacy
students from the teacher by varying the instruction on different levels at the
same occurrence. “teachers differentiated instruction by altering the level of
support offered to individual children. Over the course of a lesson and in
subsequent lessons, as a child begins to succeed with one level of scaffolding,
teachers reduce the amount of support they provide from intense to moderate to
minimal scaffolding until each child can perform isolating tasks without
Poetry Pen was selected because it reinforces the skill of
letter recognition. This activity is engaging to early literacy learners using
nursery rhymes or poems while developing their speaking and language
skills. This activity can be used for
not only early literacy age learners, but also for children in grades 1st
-2nd, implementing age level text (FCR, 2007).
“I am pleased that you understand the importance of being
involved in your child’s experience developing skills to be a great reader. At
this current development stage as a kindergarten, your child can learn the
foundation of reading. At this grade level, it is critical that learning should
take place anywhere, not just in school.
Assisting your child at home is an important factor to
support the instruction of phonemic awareness and phonics. Both are essential
skills that will always be used in the advancement of your child’s literacy
such as spelling, word recognition, and the ability to read. In addition, it
also gives an understanding of how your child will read in the next few years.
Phonemic awareness and phonics enhances your child ability to identify
individual sounds in spoken language.
To continue strengthening these concepts, you can help at
home by reiterating these skills by reading books that have pictures, rhyming
words and poems to name a few. You can select a letter that will be the target
for your child to focus on, having them point out the letter and make the sound
of it. This helps with letter recognition and sounds of individual letters.
Another activity you can do is play a rhyming or blending sound game, use
rhyming words that are in a word family “hat, cat, fat”. Also, write the words for visual support so
your child can identify the relationship of letter sound to print. Overall, the
activities should be short and engaging to keep them wanting to learn more. I
hope these strategies and information on how these early literacy skills
benefit your child’s reading in the future.”