Literacy Strategies  

  For many years children have been told to "sound it out" when they come to an unknown word. While phonics is an important part of reading, reading   for the meaning is the most important goal especially for beginning readers. Independent readers who monitor and correct themselves as they read,   use a variety of strategies. 

  Encourage your child to try some of the following strategies listed below, BEFORE saying, "sound it out".


  SAY or ASK the following...

    "Try that again"  or  "Reread the first part!"

    "What would make sense there?"

    "What do you think that word could be?"

    "What can you try?"  or  "What can help you figure it out?"

    "Is there a part or chunk in that word you know?"

    "Use the picture to help you figure out what it could be."

    "Check by looking at the word again, especially the first letter."

    "Try the beginning sounds and think about what would make sense"  ~or~

    "Try it in the sentence, go back and reread it and think about if it makes sense."

  If they still don't know, tell them by saying, "Could it be...?"


  The above are just a few of the many things you can do or say to help your student become a more independent, confident reader.



 Reading Tutor Lesson


 Reading tutoring lessons with Ms. D. encompass many of the same principals of Reading Recovery, developed by Marie Clay of New Zealand. Reading  Recovery is a highly effective one on one early literacy reading tutor program. Reading Recovery utilizes and builds upon genuine conversations between the reading teacher  and tutor child as the primary basis of instruction. This teacher-child dialogue has been found to be an effective method for teachers to help students learn to  deal with complex tasks such as reading, writing, phonics and math. The Reading Recovery lesson follows a strict routine of components containing activities that are molded to  meet the individual needs of each child based upon a daily analysis of student progress by the reading teacher.


 A typical 30-minute lesson has several components, some shown below:

 1.  Before the lesson begins, the student practices fluent writing of one High Frequency word, or letter, on the chalk/dry erase board. 

 2. The tutor child rereads several familiar books, and then rereads a book introduced in the prior lesson while the teacher does a running record (observes  and records the child's reading behaviors, confidence, fluency, reading comprehension and use of strategies). The teacher chooses 2-3 powerful teaching points.

 3. The child is guided toward discovering how words work through developing letter knowledge and word structure awareness and familiarity, which helps build self esteem and confidence in reading.


 4. The tutored child writes a story with the teacher providing opportunities for him/her to hear and record sounds in words.   

 5. The child rearranges his/her story from a cut-up sentence strip provided by the tutor.

 6. The teacher introduces a new book carefully selected for its learning opportunities, and the child reads the new book orchestrating his/her current  problem-solving strategies.



 Strategies to look for:                                          More Advanced Strategies:                                 Cues:

 * Directional movement                                       * Checking on oneself or self-monitoring            * Meaning - through pictures and story line  

 * One-to-one matching                                       * Cross-checking on information                         * Structure - syntactically appropriate     

 * Locating known words                                      * Searching for cues                                           * Visual - letter sounds, chunks (familar families),   

 * Locating an unknown word                               * Self-correction                                                    prefixes & suffixes  


 University professors (Trainers of Teacher Leaders) train Teacher Leaders who in turn train Teachers in the Reading Recovery teaching techniques.  Experienced teachers are provided professional development in a year long curriculum that integrates theory and practice and is characterized by  intensive interaction with colleagues. Teachers-in-training conduct lessons "Behind the glass" and are observed and given feedback by their colleagues.  In addition, Reading Recovery teacher leaders visit teachers at their schools and help them critique and improve their teaching and observation skills.  All teachers involved in Reading Recovery; Teacher Trainers, Teacher Leaders as well as Reading Recovery Teachers are required to have students.



 The Observation Survey contains six measures of a child's attempts on reading and writing tasks and provides information about what the child knows  and can control in his/her learning. The components of the survey are:


    * 1. Letter Identification - a list of 54 different characters including upper and lower case letters and the extra forms of a and g.

    * 2. Word Test - a list of 20 words most frequently used in early reading materials.

    * 3. Concepts about Print - a variety of tasks related to book reading, familiarity with books, and specific concepts about printed language.

    * 4. Writing Vocabulary - children are given an opportunity to write all of the words they know in ten minutes.

    * 5. Dictation Test - a story is read to the child who writes the words using sound analysis.

    * 6. Text Reading Level - a determination of reading level based on actual books organized by a gradient of difficulty.


  Roaming Around the Known refers to the first two weeks of a child's program in which the teacher explores the child's known set of information and   helps establish a working relationship, boost the child's confidence, and share some reading and writing opportunities.


  Running Records are a systematic notation system of the teachers observations of the child's processing of new text.


  Discontinued refers to the decision to exit a child from the program based upon the readministered Observation Survey scores. Also observations of the   strategies used by the child during reading and writing. Regular classroom performance is also taken into consideration.


  Tutored students are those who received sixty or more lessons or who were successfully discontinued from the program prior to having received sixty   lessons.


  Continuing Contact refers to inservice training provided after the initial training year. All RR teachers meet approximately once a month to observe and   critique "Behind the Glass" lessons and to further their knowledge and understanding of Reading Recovery aspects.


  "Behind the Glass" refers to teaching an actual lesson while being observed by peers through a one-way glass.


  Reading Recovery is an early intervention program designed by Marie M. Clay of New Zealand to serve children in first grade who are having difficulty   learning to read and write. I have been able to use my reading recovery training and experience as a Reading Recovery teacher to help tutor my students of all ages, pre k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and beyond, in the Allen, Plano, Mckinney, Fairview, Lucas, Collin County, Texas areas!


  ~ Thanks to Darby, who was kind enough to demonstrate the Reading Recovery lesson in the photos above. Darby is also a tutor student who  graduated from the program in the spring of 2004. photos were taken and included on this site with express written permission by tutor parents. ~




 All photos, images, and text included on this site are copyrighted by, and are NOT to be used without express written permission.


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Reading 4 Meaning

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