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The Decodable Book Webinar Series

Decodable Books:
Small Group Basics

Webinar #2

Decodable Books: Small Group Basics

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Webinar # 2: Small Group Basics


Thank you so much for joining us today for the Decodable Book Webinar Series, the second webinar in the series, Small Group Basics. My name is Elise Lovejoy, and I am the CEO and founder of Express Readers. I was a kindergarten through second grade teacher for about 15 years. And then I started writing books. I was in a classroom and realized that I was teaching phonics and it was very disconnected from the books that I was giving kids, but the books that were available at the time were not interesting or exciting or engaging. And so that’s where our book series came from. I have been gifted the opportunity today to use other publishers and authors books as well to help show the small group basics. I hope I can do them justice in saying that decodable books are something that are essential in classrooms and they help our children to identify how reading is actually done in a book. So let’s get started. 

What is the purpose of a small group? This comes before we even discuss anything. What, why do we have a small group, we have a small group so that we can look at kids so that we can connect with them. We can have them see us listening to them. We do it so that we can have an immediate feedback with those kids. Oftentimes we see small groups done at a kidney shaped table so that we can reach out and touch everything that kids are doing. It, it helps with the conversations and being able to focus on a specific and small group of children while learning. I wish I could say that we got to spend time with every single child every single day. But knowing what the composition of my classrooms always were, a small group was the best way to give more individualized attention to each of my kids. It was a way to have conversations, allow them to express themselves, allow them to get their words in. It was so that I could listen to them in terms of a reading group. I was listening to their tone, I was listening to the ease or the difficulty behind their decoding. And again, that immediate feedback is so important, we can also, it also allows us to give encouragement. So when a child is doing something, the best way to promote and encourage them to do it more is by giving them that feedback back in immediate time. So not a sticker on a paper that goes home or the progress report that, that their parents see. It’s right then and there when they’re doing it and it can be something as little as “I love that you are tracking with your finger right now.” I know how important that is. Or I, “I can hear all the sounds that you, you see in that word, let’s put it together, put it together and blend it together.” It doesn’t matter what that encouragement is, but you are encouraging the effective skills and that even just the attempts that a child is making.

What is the purpose of a reading group. So we’re really looking at why do we have reading groups? Are they so kids can sit like in a college classroom and converse and have this, you know, higher education moment or are we teaching them how to read? Are we teaching them how to access meaning out of a text? Are we teaching them how to form opinions and, and the essentials behind how? So to that end, we’re going to talk about the three really main parts of a reading group which are this code based knowledge or this code-related, attachment, the knowledge based piece behind it and the fluency development. When I say code related, I mean how we access the actual text that we’re reading. So the phonemic awareness, the phonics, later on the morphology, not saying you can’t do it earlier, but obviously, much more so as children progress. And then when I say knowledge-based, it’s all of the pieces behind the language and the understanding and the connections to the text. And as far as fluency development, we know how important fluency is when it comes to comprehension of a child reading on their own. Because if they have that fluency, they’re not focused as much on this code-related piece. So all three of these elements go into a small reading group. 

What I want to impress today though is that the strategy used to practice reading. If we are using a reading group to help our children grow as readers, that’ll be the strategy that students will use to read. So if we’re going to teach phonics as the code to reading, we need to be giving our kids books that can be decoded using those phonics. If I am teaching phonics, it needs to have a direct connection to how kids are reading or it’s this, you know, abstract piece, it’s like teaching numbers and then teaching calculus, we need to be using those numbers to show number sense, and formation and how we put them all together. It can’t be disconnected like it has been. 

As I talk about these three elements that are involved, what I will say is that skills-based instruction is becoming a focus for the education world, in the sense that we need to be very thoughtful and careful and explicit about what we’re teaching. I don’t know about everybody else’s experience, obviously, but my own experience, reading groups were these comfy little circles, where you were kind of allowing children to come up with their own ideas, have value. But what we’re saying is that you walk in to a reading group with focus skills that you’re working on. You are teaching something, whether that happens in a small group, whether that happens in a whole group. And then you are modeling, you are coaching, and you are observing in these small groups, you are having the chance to show kids exactly how it’s done. You are having the chance to coach them so that they can do it on their own, and then you are having a chance to observe them. And in a small group, that observation, that assessment by hearing a child reading or hearing their thought process is so important. And it’s a practice with purpose. So it’s not just go sit and read, go pick a book out of your book bin at random. It is taking a practice that goes along with what you are instructing in that small group or in the whole group that then you are using in a small group. And it’s never losing the opportunity to build knowledge and to make connections. Reading is not just a disconnected skill that we do by phonics. And I know that people often attach decodable books to that. “Oh, well, you know, reading isn’t just about phonics.” No, you’re right. It’s not. We need to help children pull meaning from those words or words are just sounds put together. However, when we are asking children to read, if we would like for them to practice using the strategies of a strong reader, which is looking at the text, using sound spellings, then we need to use text that matches that. I’m not saying in a read aloud. I’m not saying in every single case, but I am saying that the majority of these early literacy, small reading groups should be texts that children can decode. 

Like I said, I have been gifted the opportunity to use some really wonderful books or series of books by publishers and authors. All of us, all of us were either teachers or parents or someone that saw the need, that saw that we were teaching in our classes and then it wasn’t being used in the actual reading. So let’s get right into it. 

This looks complicated. I’m going to give you the structure for what would make an effective small group instruction as far as a reading group. And we’re going to do this using, using decodable books. So not all of this has to be done directly in that small group time. You sometimes only have so much time. But how do we utilize the time during our literacy blocks and, and then a time during a small group, effectively and efficiently so that we’re being explicit, we’re allowing for student voice, we’re allowing for creativity, but we’re ensuring that kids are having some sort of mastery of the skills that we are teaching. 

I’m going to break it down into three parts. Actually, we’ll come back to that. I’m going to first tell you, I will provide this document for you. It is not meant for you to fill out every time. I mean, teachers have enough as it is, but a graphic organizer in a sense, at least for me, it helps me organizing, in my mind as I walk into a lesson, what it is that I need to be focusing on, and it’s like me walking into this webinar. I need to remember the couple of things that have to be said, that need to be explicitly done so that I get my point across so that I, that I have the objective, I meet the objective that I’ve set out to do. 

So here’s the skill-based lesson part and a hands-on activity. What I mean by this is the skill could be code-related. It could be knowledge-based, maybe it has to do with fluency and we’re talking about tone or we’re talking about expression. We’re talking about, you know, the grammar structures that change the way that we read. Whatever the skill-based lesson is, we need to have some kind of hands-on activity. Maybe this all happens in a small group, maybe it’s a review and so we’re doing a quick skill-based lesson review, and then we’re doing a hands-on activity to practice it. We all know with kids, it doesn’t have to be dry. You can have fun with it, you can make games and, and use the books and the resources we have to have fun so that they’re attaching a positive feeling to all that we’re doing, and they’re also using that material in a hands on way to help them, you know, integrate or I apologize. I lost my word there… to help them find that mastery of the skill that, that you’re teaching about. 

So on that graphic organizer that I gave I, I showed you and the skills focused, oftentimes, it should have a code-related when we are talking about early literacy, but it might have something as well. Like, maybe we’re working on sequencing. Maybe I’ve done a read aloud, and we’ve talked about order. Beginning, middle, end, something of that nature. Now, the reading group would need to have that focus or a book that followed that long /A/. We will talk about it in the differentiated instruction webinar that’s next. Number three about differentiated instruction, because you might be doing a sequencing lesson, and you might have three different levels of skill levels, or code-related skill levels among your class. I would love if our classes were uniform as far as skills, we would probably get a lot more done and help kids in a much more deep and meaningful way. But that isn’t the, how the world is and it isn’t how our classrooms are. So, in order to meet all those needs, we might be doing a knowledge-based focus and using the code-related focus for each of our groups. Now, let’s just say we’re, we’re focusing on one right now and we’ve got this long /A/ spelled with sneaky “e” or magic “e” whatever you may call it, and I might take that and put it into a sound sort. So I’m having kids all doing a sound sort. Now, if I’m talking about that differentiated instruction I might be doing picture sequencing. So everybody is kind of practicing on the same level, but practicing the knowledge-base. a tri-fold for a read aloud. 1/2/3 lineups, all kinds of activities. 

I’m going to show you some that are really effective, that are fun, that can be done in a small group, that can be done independently. You may be, you are working on applying phonics to reading, and so you’ve got different levels going in your classroom. But this is Couple Cards from Express Readers. This is a Sound Sort. So these are all pictures, but we’re talking about the long /A/ sound. So I might then take those pictures and I’ll say, “Say the word out loud, listen for the vowel sound. And if it’s a long /A/ put it over here, if it’s not, if it doesn’t have a long /A/ put it over here.” Kids would sort. I can even take it further and do a match activity where then I say, “OK, we’re going to read each word. So read the word /k/-/A/-/v/ ‘Cave’ and then find the picture that goes with it. Match them all up. Nice little game that connects the phonics to actual words that has them moving around, that has them using their hands and, and, and being engaged in a different way. 

Memory. So same thing, these word and picture cards, maybe they’re playing with a couple of kids that are on the same code-related piece that they are and matching them up. We might even take the book that we’re going to use in our small reading group. So this one is from Aligned Decodables “Nate’s Big Game.” And the great part about decodable books is that within that code-related skill level, this book is then going to have a lot of words that you can use. I remember being in my classes and trying to think of a list of words that went along with a specific sound spelling or rule. And it’s always when you need it that you can’t come up with it. 

So by having that decodable book, you’ve got a list of words here. I’m taking these words from the book. It also is a great way to kind of warm kids up to, to reading that book. Not that I want to give away everything that’s in it because I want them to be using their decoding skills. But “Nate, cake, make, gapes, taking all of these” words and then doing a phonemic awareness activity. But getting them ready to segment or put back together blend. So how many sounds? I might take the word “cake” here. I’ve got some bingo markers and some squares. You can use dry erase markers on a whiteboard. Every sound you hear, move up a bingo marker /k/-/A/-/k/ and the kids would find it. I might go through all of the words. Another great idea is using those Pop-its. It’s a great way for kids to have a tactile attachment to it. So I say “gapes” /g/-/A/-/p/-/s/. How many? We have four. I might go through a bunch of those words and it’s a quick activity. It doesn’t take more than a minute or two. 

Then here is “Late” by Phonic Books, DK Learning and it is a sneaky “E” or silent “E,” however you might say it, with long /A/ and so again, I’ve got this great list of words right here that I can use in my activities. I’m going to use these words in a word building. So whether you’re using magnetic tiles or you’re using, you know, the cute little magnet letters on a cake pan doesn’t matter. What I’m talking about is the actual building of words based on the sounds. 

So, in this one, we’re using Wonder Words from Express Readers and I might do it in a couple of different ways, I could say, “Can you find the /g/-/A/-/m/ the letters that spell those sounds and put them on your board.” And the kids might then put those ones on their board or I might say, “Let’s spell the word ‘game.’ What sounds do you hear?” And the kids might do it or I might say, “we’re going to spell ‘game.’ Can you find…” oh, maybe I did it that way. I already said that one. I might also say, put the letters “G,” “A,” and “M” on your board. Now, let’s sound it out.” 

So this piece I really say is in a small group, whether you have chosen to put this, the skill base lesson and hands-on activity in there. But depending on what you’re teaching, the pieces that go with the book you’re using would be done in a small group. It also allows you really to ensure that the kids are getting these pieces. So first we’re going to look at site word mapping. In Express Readers, we call it sticky words, because they’re the words you get stuck on if you go back to Webinar #1, you’ll learn more about sight words and, and some of the definitions and, and wording that we use. But really a sight word is a word with an irregular spelling or that cannot be sounded out yet. So those, those phonics haven’t been taught yet. So in this book, Snake 1 and Snake 2, here are the new sticky words and the old sticky words. Let’s take the word “they” First, you need to know how to map it. What sounds have the kids learned in it? What sounds have they not learned in it? What’s irregular? I know this is tricky. There’s a lot to know but a but there are accessible maps of words based on your scope and sequence a lot of the time. So here you’ll see in Express Readers in Step 3, they learn the, the voiced /th/ so that won’t be sticky for them. But the “ey” spelling the long /A/ will. 

No matter how you do it, whether you write it in boxes, we do it on a Splat Board in Express Readers, whether you just write it on a whiteboard. The idea behind this is that you are helping for kids to map that word in their brains. You are helping to have, have their brains identify what is different about that word so that they can begin absorbing that word in a way that allows for it to be automatic in the future. So in Express Readers, we use a splat. We splat honey because it’s sticky. Whether you circle it, whether you draw a heart, whether you draw a dinosaur, although I don’t promote that because that’s probably going to take you too long. No matter what you do, you are trying to help a child to identify what is different about that word. It doesn’t need to be a long process. It can take minutes, just minutes of, of your time, but it will help children for the future. We might go find it in the book as well just so that they’re then scanning for a specific word that they’ve just learned. In Express Readers, we use these black and white copies. I know other programs have them. And so we might have actually have the kids go circle them or “splat them with honey” is what we say. 

So here’s a book from the DOG ON A LOG books, “Tag.” And the reason I’m, I’m showing you this one is because no matter which book you’re using, there will be an identified set of sight words or sticky words or tricky words or whatever that company or that decodable book series might call it. So you are on the lookout for those words. Now, there might be different reasons, but what we’re trying to do is to help kids when something is a little difficult. So they don’t run into a hurdle. If you were a track star and you were running a race and I didn’t tell you, I was going to throw a bunch of hurdles in there… You would be shocked. You might stumble. You might fall. Hopefully you wouldn’t. But if we are going to ask children to practice reading, we want them to trust that process. So by pulling out and identifying those words, we’re obtaining their trust that what we have taught them is going to be used in the words that they read. Yeah, again, so no matter which way you do it, you’re helping their brain identify that. 

Here’s a Meg and Greg, I, I just got connected with this company as well Orca Two Read books and they show there’s in this, they have a much more descript actually description of these words on another page, but they show this and you might look at this and say, oh, they, these are short words. Why? Well, there are tricky spellings in them. So if you haven’t taught open “e” or open syllables, kids are going to look at this. And what would I say as a child? I would say by identifying that there’s an open “e” I might even slightly introduce it. But just by identifying for kids, then they start to see that they might as well might also start to see this pattern in other words because you’ve identified it. “As, has is, his,” these are tiny words, the words we see early on and actually they’re words that kids usually can sound out. But the “s” makes a sound which can be tricky. And especially for our readers that are struggling anyway, by identifying this, you’re at least pointing it out and, and helping them to start mapping it. 

Basically, the idea is you map a word, it gets stored in their “letter box.” It used to be called the “word box.” But now it’s, we’re starting to understand that our brain stores words based on letter patterns or letter strings. And that way eventually they will look at that word, it will be automatic and they will speak it as they read it just like anything. If you break down how to, I’m not going to come up with a good example on this one, but maybe crochet and you teach someone the simple parts of it, right? It becomes automatic, then you, you aren’t thinking about it while you’re doing it. Same, same for our words. 

So then there’s a vocabulary preview. Vocabulary is part of this language comprehension piece. So this is the this is a Simple Point of View in reading where we say, you know, there’s this the structures of words, decoding, mapping of sight words. And then there’s the language comprehension. And both of these are required in order for us to have a skilled reader. Vocabulary is not just long words. And I, I have to really emphasize that because whether it be children that have English as a second language, or children that have been spoken to a lot in their homes, or children that haven’t had that opportunity, no matter the child, we don’t know what words they come with. So being explicit in our vocabulary instruction is important. I would rather have one child learn a word twice from me than not have another child learn it at all. There is an equity in our vocabulary. When we, when we talk about vocabulary and previewing vocabulary in books, it’s so important that we explicitly do this and we identify words for kids long short, doesn’t matter. 

So here this is Laughing Ogre Press in the book, “Jeff.” She has the two words “dam” and “cod.” Now, I don’t know many people, many kids nowadays that know a dam. My kids do because we go to this cute place called Santa Fe Dam and our kids swim there during the summer. But that would be why they would know it. That doesn’t mean that other kids do so by pulling this out. Yes, let’s say there’s a reading group and it has my son in it. He might say I go to a dam and I go swimming. But then the other kids don’t, it’s ok that he heard it again. Maybe it gives him an opportunity to be the expert. But for those other children, they need to know that word in order to know the meaning of this text and a cod. I, you know, it’s a, it’s a great word to use when we’re decoding, but we want to make sure that kids understand what it is. Well, it’s a fish. So now this makes sense to me. He’s going to a place where there’s water and he’s going to go fishing for a cod. Here’s the other part that is big about equity is that we use a lot of words in the English language that are idioms or sayings and they mean something very different if you are going to translate our language directly. So “is off to,” well, someone might say, what are they getting off of, you know? No, it means you’re getting set to go or you’re leaving for or you’re, you’re, you’re taking off. Well, that also is an idiom. By leveling the playing field and making sure you look at the words that are in a book and pulling them beforehand. We are creating an equitable environment for this language acquisition. 

So defining based on the prior knowledge. So one child might have, know what a dam is and the other ones might not. And how can it be used? So this is a book. Rex Runs Off! and there, there is an idiom in here “sick of this.” So, Rex Runs Off is a series that series that’s often used with adults or, or older kids. And I would think that if you are coming from a different culture, you might think. Well, what is, what do they have? What’s the illness that I’m working with here? because someone might sit in silence while we’re reading this and not understand the meaning. But by explaining that words can have different meanings and showing that in multiple ways, we are creating this ability to recognize different combinations of words. Too much. Is too much a good thing? Is too much a bad thing? Asking children to or students to use it in a sentence. Would you say if I said, “I ate too much candy”? Do you think I feel good after? The conversations that come. 

This is “Tim Bash” from Whole Phonics and Whole Phonics has this great page in their books where they give you, you know, their key, but they also talk about the special vocabulary. So right there you might not need to go through the book. You have already this set of words that you should probably set up and talk about before you ever even start to read it. 

Now, even if I have a book that has higher-level, not complexity, I’m sorry, that is for a higher age group, but it has that phonics connection that is a more basic like “Spelling Pen” by Simple Words. I want to make sure that I’m doing all of these things. Even if, if I know that the kids are at a higher comprehension level. So, here I’ve shown you in pink, you’ll see, it’s the word “inspects” and maybe I’m just asking, I’m ensuring that there aren’t gaps in the language acquisition that’s happened. “Do you know what a Glass Smith is?” “What do you think it could be?” What do you think, think they’re doing, talking about it? And then there are these idioms “the best shot,” “steps up.” What do they step up on? Well, that’s not what it means. It means that they’re, you know, taking on the job or they’re, they’re stepping up to the plate which again, another idiom, it’s the importance of explaining language and having those conversations around it. 

Now, we move into this, the decodable book group reading. And this is the part where we focus on not only the fluency piece where we’re, we’re listening to kids reading, we’re immediately identifying and giving them feedback, but we’re also doing the comprehension and the connections. You’re having that discussion, you’re allowing children to express their opinions. So when I open up a book like Frog The Kitchen Whiz by Express Readers, I would maybe draw the connection, the code-related connection. So this one is a using silent letters. So I would say, can you find that silent “W” in here and the kids might point it all out. Can you find the silent “W” or the silent “K”? Because we will have learned that. We will have had a skills- based instruction lesson before. And in, in our program, we also have again with the black and white, we might, especially if a child is struggling, we might even have them go find that phonics structure and highlight it so that when they get to it, it’s kind of like this, this “crutches” for reading in their black and white copy. They’re seeing it again and again, they’re helping their brains kind of map that sound spelling and then they’ll read it in a book without that, without those crutches and it will be done with a lot more ease. 

This is a book by YouKan Reading and I’m going to use it to explain this next piece. Obviously, we could have a million discussions about comprehension, and I don’t want to simplify or, or ignore any pieces of it. But I am going to just brush over some of some of what we would discuss based around comprehension. I think the most important piece that I want to get out is that even if you are using a book that a child can read, you can still do all of these things. So “recall” is the first in here, we’re going to go over “recall” “inference” and “evaluation.” “Recall” is basically just recalling information straight away. So on this one, this is called “The Banquet.” I might say, “what’s the goldfish’s name?” It’s Jin. Oh OK. “What’s the gold and, and where does he swim?” In the pond. Now, I’m asking these questions again and the kids because we’re having a discussion and out loud, they’re having to show me it’s almost one of the best informal assessments you can get on your, on your kiddos. The “inference” is when they have to pull a meaning maybe by looking at multiple places in that book. So I might say, you know, why, why is why is the goldfish wanting to get fed? What do you think is happening here? And a child might say “because he’s hungry.” Well, it doesn’t say that in here, but they have to infer based on the fact that he wants to be fed. It’s one step up from this recall and then evaluation is something that comes, comes along and we start it, you know, by helping kids with opinions and their own ideas. But evaluation is their evaluation of the text. So I might say, without having read the entire story here I might say, “How do you think how do you feel about the goldfish asking that frog for food?” “Do you think that was fair?” “Do you think that was a good idea?” It’s a further conversation to have with our kids. 

There are lots of pieces that can also be part of your skills-based lesson. Like I was explaining with sequencing, I was saying that you could do a sequencing skills-based lesson and then use different decodable books based on the code- relation for each small group. But or this can be something that you’re doing in your decodable book reading group. In our Quick Keys for Express Readers, we have the recall and comprehension questions and connection questions. I’ll say, I mean, I realize that with decodable books we always say “oh but they’re so easy. You should be able to grab those.” And, and I think that’s true. However, wasn’t it so easy when we would get these nice little packaged leveled readers with a sheet that said all of the reading comprehension questions? Teachers jobs need to be easier. But if you set it up so that you have a series that doesn’t have this, you can pre-write those so that every time you pull that book, you’ve got a set of questions that cover all of these skills. 

Now, this other piece, this 3rd, 3rd section, we’re going to talk about the re-reading, the reading practice, writing connection or dictation. This is so important. This is under-utilized. And, and know that we’re all starting to learn about really the importance of this mastery and this very thoughtful practice. So, in the past, in some of my classes, I felt as though if kids sat and silently read, they were practicing. They were practicing what I had taught them and obviously hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, if a child was already struggling or if the child just wasn’t paying attention, how do I engage them? How do I ensure that they are actually getting the practice that they need? How are they getting the practice at the level that they need? So, with the skills that they, they specifically need. 

So let’s talk about that reading practice here is “Can Ten Pigs Fit in a Tub” a decodable graphic novel. This is a great way to practice a specific phonics set in a different way. So maybe I’ve had this reading group and I’ve had it with I’ve had it with one of a CVC or, or blends book with another series. And I want the kids to go practice that. This is a really engaging way to get them to practice. Maybe there’s two kids. And I’ve said, “OK, you’re going to read all the parts where somebody is making a sound or saying something. You’re going to read all the narrator parts.” And so kids are practicing, they’re getting their fluency in there because they’re reading aloud to each other. Maybe it’s less intimidating because they’re just with one other person. 

I can also have them do an activity. Reading doesn’t need to be a standalone practice. There can be a goal for that reading. I want you to find, after you’ve read each page, all of the words that have short /e/ and I want you to find all the ones that have blends, and then we’re going to sort them. This is Meg and Greg from Orca Two Read. And the way that they have it set up is either a, a child who’s at a higher, code-related level, can read one part or the teacher and the student that’s at the, a little bit of a more basic code level would read the other part. Now, let’s say I have, two students reading this in a reading practice. I can have one, the child that’s on the more basic side. Say I would say, can you go find all of those words with the structure that we’re learning? Here. It is. and then the other child, then one child reads and the other child then gets their chance to read out loud. This also looks very much like, the decodable graphic novel. So it’s, it’s an engaging way to get kids to want to practice. 

Jake The Snake. This will this book, that Dandelion Reader, Phonics Books. It has multiple vowel spellings. Well, if you’ve got kids, and again, we’ll, we’ll talk about it on the Differentiated Instruction Day. But if you’ve got kids who have different focus for code related, you might have two kids reading this book, let’s say I’ve got one that has all of these vowel spellings. And I say you’re going to read and every time you get to a word that has the sneaky “e” on it, your partner is going to read that word. We’re going to, that’s going to be their job. And so they might read together another way to do this, finding all those words, another way to do this is each child has a book that is at their practice level. So it has the skills that they have learned and are practicing. If you go to the first webinar, we talk about kind of what what the composition of that looks like, but maybe you’re doing autographs. So the kids each have their book, they’re moving around the class, they’re reading to each other and then their partner autographs, their sheet or the back of the book if it’s a paper book. And so they have to collect autographs by reading aloud to their friends, maybe they’re drawing a picture of a stuffy because maybe that’s what it is, no matter what the reading practice is being very poignant and, and making sure that that practice has to do with what, what we were teaching and, and what code relation our kids are working on. 

So given some ideas here, whisper reading, hearing themselves, read out loud, but without maybe the anxiety of reading to somebody or in front of people reading the same phonics. But in a different format, this again, might be a reason to have multiple series so that you can pull out different kinds of books with different interest, interest, focus points. But with the same phonic structure shared reading. So we, we saw the Orca Two Read where one side has a little more complex and one side is a little more basic choral reading. So maybe we’re reading it together at the same time, small group rereading, that’s also important in your small group because in our small group, we will have read together, you will have had that time to observe and listen, but also to give immediate feedback. But maybe we’re going to do that more than once. The one-on-one. This is, you know, but I would love to have more of this but it’s just not the way that classes work because our, the class size and, and what’s expected of teachers. So, but have, if you do have any of that one-on-one time, recorded reading, sometimes having kids record their own voice reading, they can do a little ding when to turn the page and then one of their friends can listen to it and follow along, or buddy stuffy reading that’s, you know, grabbing a stuffed animal and reading it to them again, that helps out when a child might be anxious about reading out loud or, or reading to other people. 

And here is the writing piece. So again, like I said, a really great part to a decodable book is that you really have lists of words. Now, this book, I do believe that the Lil Tilt and Mr. Ling is actually in the scope and sequence. It’s working on blends, but it has a great set of words for the NK and NG ending throughout the book as well as the digraphs because those were taught in a previous book. It is important to continue to come back around to phonics that kids have already learned. We want to make sure that they’re mastering it and they’re not going to master it in one week. You know, if we’ve set up something as a topic, it needs to be done again and again, maybe we’re taking the, the now this set of words and we’re doing a dictation picture. So they’re, you’re saying the word, the child is writing it down and then they have to figure out how to put all those words into one picture that all works together. Maybe it would be a little hard to do the word “dank” in this one. But even if I did Ling and I explain that it’s a name and you need to put a capital L. and, and then kids needed to draw Mr. Ling and he is with a fish by a shed, however, they do that. A dictation story. So maybe small sentences, maybe you’re only giving them one or two sentences and then kids have to write their own story and they have a set of words that they’re working off or the sentence that you helped them by dictating to them dictation words where we’re writing one word and then we’re drawing a picture of it. Very simple way to do it. It can be done with any kinds of sets of words. It’s a great informal assessment. I, on this one, I used a Wonder Word sheet. I know all teachers, we repurpose things again and again, don’t we? 

The writing connection or dictation In the on the Quick Keys for Express Readers, we have writing prompts on some of them. So maybe you’re just writing in a journal. “If I were a fish, I would want my dish to be….” “One time a friend needed my help.” We’re connecting to the child. We’re drawing them into the book or asking them to use the information from the book again with a phonics book. The great part is that you will then have this list of words that kids will have been practicing. You can ask them, I want you to use two or three words with the phonic structure that were we’re working on. Here is Hot Chips, Mad Fish and it’s the from the decodable graphic novel group or I’m sorry series. And you might take something like this and do tri-fold writing. Again, we could be practicing sequencing here. So I would in the first section, write the Bugs are zig and zagging. I can ask students to write full sentences, then the bugs got sick, the bugs got sick and they can’t fly anymore. And at the end, maybe I don’t even have them write it from the story. Maybe it’s something like, what do you think the solution to this problem should be? So, you’re connecting the kids to that book and, and to the information in that book. 

Thought Reports. This is the way that we do, in Express Readers the way we do opinion. So expressing opinion, having kids begin to express their opinion about what they’re reading, not only allows them to find themselves in their reading, but to find their own voice. And we know how important that is as our kids go along in years writing letter writing. So when “Chimp Gets a Checkup,” he’s very brave. He goes and he has to get a shot. So I might tell the kids listen, I want you to write to Chimp about a time that you were scared or a time that you had to be, have your chin up and be brave. And so the child would write a letter to Chimp. There are a lot of steps that go into having a skilled based lesson. And I know that by showing you that graphic organizer, there’s so much that that comes into play. But by being very poignant with an explicit about the skills that we are teaching and using that in our small group we are beginning to help our kids form and master skills that are so important to their reading. this code-related piece always either taking it into account or including it in a small reading group. So maybe it’s not something that we’re focusing on, but I’m using a book that the child has the ability to read again. It’s not like when I’m reading or read aloud to kids, it’s not, maybe we’re doing a shared reading where I’m reading one part and they’re reading the other part and my part doesn’t have the code related material that they know yet. but when we’re requiring kids to read, they really do need to have text that has the skills. We’ve taught them this knowledge based piece and making sure that it is explicit and systematic. We are growing. So you begin with that recall, then you work up to inference and you work on to evaluation. It’s this scaffolding of skills and being very specific about how you do it to make sure that all of our kids have those skills. 

If we want our students to focus on the text to read, if you don’t want your kids to guess if you don’t want them to look at the picture or to predict, make a, an, a guess based on something. If you want them to actually look at the text, then they need to be given text that they can read that doesn’t include the small handful of site words, but we have talked about that, you know, using those, those mapping skills or making sure that you identify it beforehand. 

So we’ve, we’ve ripped through that one. Thank you for joining us for a small group basics. I do want to say thank you to all these incredible publishers and authors who not only have allowed me to use their books but who have also written these books, who have put in their passion into these books so that our kids can have books that follow the skills that they’re learning after this webinar is over about a day after we say by Saturday. But probably tomorrow, there’ll be a web page that’s live. You can take the quiz to get PD credit, you’ll get a certificate from us or you can email it to us. We’ll have it in the download in the download file from this webinar. You’ll get the quiz, you’ll get the files or the, the slides from us. You’ll also be getting two of the documents you saw today, the skills based instruction, reading, group, graphic organizer and you’ll also be getting thought reports. There are also more in this series on July 13th. We’ll be doing differentiated instruction which I alluded to a tiny bit. You can find all of these on our website under the Decodable Book Webinar Series page. And then once you go there, you can click on one of the icons and either be taken to the registration or be taken to the website that has been created with the video and the PD credit quiz. You can also scan for free samples of Express Readers. And I want to say thank you in the sense that yes, our company and our books are important to us and, and we feel very strongly about them, but we really just want people to understand how important it is for our kids to have material that they can read that will help grow their confidence, that will help their connection to what they’re learning in class. And that will give them a shot at mastery. So thank you for taking the time to learn with us today and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Decodable Book Webinar Series

Webinar #2: Small Group Basics

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