For Dr. Smith Kevins

The Case Study 2 should be enjoyable to complete.  In this assignment you are to focus on strategies you can use to help struggling readers.  You are to choose one of the attached documents to complete the assignment, either Early Reading or Fluency and Word Identification Grades 3-5.  You are to choose any level C case to complete.  Answer the questions at the end of the Case Study.  You do not have to use APA format for the goals, but APA format is expected for the rest of the paper.  You are to use the Star Sheet and other  professional journal sources to support your answers, which will be compiled in a 1-2 page APA formatted document.  Remember to reference the strategies found on the Star Sheets.




Fluency and Word Identification:

Grades 3-5 Created by

Kim Paulsen

Vanderbilt University

IRIS Center for Faculty Enhancement

Welcome to the IRIS Center

Box 160, Peabody College

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN 37203


U.S. Department of Education Project #H325F010003



Contents: Page

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Case Study Level A, Case 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Case Study Level A, Case 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Case Study Level A, Case 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Case Study Level B, Case 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Case Study Level B, Case 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Case Study Level B, Case 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Case Study Level C, Case 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

STAR Sheets: Peer Tutoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-12

STAR Sheets: Independent Pratice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-15

STAR Sheets: Decoding (Structural Analysis) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-18

STAR Sheets: Repeated Readings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19-20

For a faculty guide to this case study unit please e-mail the IRIS Center at with your full name, title and institutional affiliation.


To contact the IRIS Center:

Mail: Deborah D. Smith, Ed.D., Project Director IRIS Center for Faculty Enhancement Box 160 Peabody College Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203

phone: (615) 343-6006 (866) 626-IRIS [626-4747]

Fax: (615) 343-5611





Fluency and Word Identification Introduction


Fluency and Word identiFication introduction

upper eleMentary reading case study set

Fluency is reading silently or orally with expression, but without effort. Fluency involves automatic word and punctuation recognition as well as pacing, inflection, and efficiency. Although it enhances reading comprehension, fluency is distinguished from comprehension in that it focuses on the reader’s presentation of a reading passage rather than its meaning.

In order to provide an example of both non-fluent and fluent reading, the same passage is typed twice below to mimic the reading in print. Imagine you are an upper elementary student reading aloud. First read the non-fluent passage from left to right, top to bottom. Then read the fluent passage.

Word Identification is accurately and automatically identifying sight words and applying decoding strategies to read unfamiliar words. Word identification does not necessarily consider the meaning of designated words; however, knowledge of the meaning of word segments (e.g., prefixes, suffixes) assists upper elementary readers in identifying words.

To provide a parallel example for word recognition, the example below attempts to test your automatic recognition and sound-decoding skills. Column A lists commonly known phrases disguised within other words. Without looking at Column B, try to immediately identify the phrase as written in Column A. If the phrase looks unfamiliar, then try to sound it out. Compare your “phrase identification” and “decoding skills” with the phrases as traditionally written in Column B.

Non-fluent passage example:

The au… tum… n leaves be… gan

chan change. Changing colors to vib vib vib…rant redsyellowsand or orange.

Fluent passage example:

The autumn leaves began changing colors to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges.

Column A Column B

1. High pledge jelly gents 1. I pledge allegiance

2. Comet tea offer hers 2. Comedy of errors

3. Welcome island mice ooze 3. Walk a mile in my shoes



Fluency and Word Identification LEVEL A • CASE 1

background Student: Andrea

Age: 8.6

Grade: 3rd

Focus: Sight Words

scenario Andrea is a typical third grade student who gets along well with other students and likes to please

her teacher. While most students in the 3rd grade are able to identify sight words easily and quickly, Andrea is only able to identify sight words from the pre-primer level. She has difficulty with most sight words at the primer level and higher. Her teacher, Ms. Ortega, states that Andrea works very hard and has the motivation to learn strategies to help her read better. Ms. Ortega talked about some helpful strategies with the special education teacher and is going to implement these to help Andrea achieve her goal, which is:

• Given sight words, Andrea will state the words automatically

possible strategies • Peer Tutoring • Independent Practice

! assignMent 1. Read the Peer Tutoring and Independent Practice STAR sheets. 2. Describe both strategies. 3. Explain how each strategy will help Andrea meet her goal. 4. Using the Internet or a reading reference guide, find a list of sight words. Group the words into groups

of 5 and decide which words you would introduce first, second, and so forth. Create a new list that reflects your grouping. Be sure to identify your source (web site or reference book).




background Student: Kevin

Age: 9.5

Grade: 4th

Focus: Decoding multi-syllable words

scenario Kevin is a popular fourth grader who occasionally gets in trouble for cutting up in class. While

most students in Kevin’s 4th grade class are able to decode unfamiliar, multi-syllable words, Kevin is struggling with this task. Although Kevin is able to quickly and accurately read sight words, he tries to sound out multi-syllabic words letter-by-letter, rather than using prefixes, suffixes, and root words. This difficulty effects Kevin’s fluency and comprehension. During the first grading period, the Title I* tutor, Kevin’s teacher, and his parents had a meeting in which they discussed trying new strategies to assist him in reaching his goal, which is:

• Given multi-syllable words, Kevin will decode them accurately and with ease

possible strategies • Independent Practice • Decoding

! assignMent 1. Read the STAR sheets describing the two possible strategies. 2. Summarize the main components of each strategy. Be sure to include how each strategy will support


*Title I is a federal grant program, targeted to high-poverty schools, whose funds are used to provide educational services to students who are educationally disadvantaged or at risk of failing to meet state standards.

Fluency and Word Identification Level A • Case 2




background Student: Emma

Age: 10.3

Grade: 5th

Focus: Fluency

scenario Emma is a shy 5th grader who is struggling in all academic subjects that require a lot of reading.

Emma is able to read all sight words and decode most multi-syllable words she encounters. However, Emma’s teacher, Mr. Haywood, has noticed that her fluency is not at the level of most 5th graders and feels this is because Emma has a low self-concept. Emma reads aloud very softly and slowly, often waiting to say a word aloud until she can pronounce it correctly. Because Mr. Haywood believes that Emma has the needed skills to improve her fluency he has decided to implement strategies that will help Emma reach her goal, which is:

• Given reading passages at the 5th grade level, Emma will read fluently

possible strategies • Peer Tutoring • Repeated Readings

! assignMent 1. Read the Peer Tutoring and Repeated Readings STAR sheets. 2. Summarize the two strategies and explain how they will help Emma reach her goal. 3. Select a short passage from a 5th grade basal series* and explain how you would use it to help Emma

improve her fluency.

*A basal series is a set of highly organized, skill oriented materials for teaching reading in the elementary grades. They are available from most college or university libraries.

Fluency and Word Identification Level A • Case 3




background Student: Jeff

Age: 10.6

Grade: 5th

Focus: Sight words

scenario Jeff is a fifth grade student in an inner-city neighborhood school. Jeff struggles with reading

sight words accurately and quickly. Although he’s able to read all of the pre-primer, primer, and 1st grade sight words, he is not able to do so quickly. When Jeff encounters sight words at the 2nd grade level and higher he has a great deal of difficulty. However, both Jeff’s special education and classroom teachers have noticed that he is able to decode unfamiliar multi-syllable words. They also report that he is able to comprehend what he reads, but the lack of sight word recognition makes his reading choppy. Jeff is embarrassed by his inability to read fluently and has shown interest in wanting to improve his sight word recognition. His teacher and parents have agreed to work with him to reach his goal, which is:

• Given grade level sight words, Jeff will state the words automatically

possible strategies • Peer Tutoring • Independent Practice

! assignMent 1. Read the Peer Tutoring and Independent Practice STAR sheets. 2. Explain the rationale for using the strategies, including how Jeff would benefit from each and how you

would implement them with him. 3. Describe an independent practice activity that Jeff’s parents can use at home to support the pursuit of his


Fluency and Word Identification Level B • Case 1




background Student: Mary

Age: 9.3

Grade: 3rd

Focus: Decoding multi-syllable words

scenario Mary is a third grader at a small private school. It is the beginning of the second semester of

the school year and Mary is still having difficulty decoding unfamiliar multi-syllable words. Mary’s teacher, Mr. Bounds, recognizes that not only is Mary having difficulty with this task, but so are many of her classmates. Knowing that the students are struggling with an important reading skill that will be assessed at the end of the school year and will be important for success in the following years, Mr. Bounds has looked through the resources he picked up at a professional conference on special education. He has decided to implement strategies each day that will assist all of his students, but specifically Mary, in reaching the following goal:

• Given multi-syllable words, students will decode them accurately and with ease

possible strategies • Independent Practice • Decoding

! assignMent 1. Read the STAR sheets on the two possible strategies. 2. Explain the rationale for using the strategies, including how Mary would benefit from each and how you

would implement them with her. 3. Explain how you would involve Mary’s parents, and develop an activity from one of the strategies that

Mary’s parents can use at home to support the pursuit of her goal.

Fluency and Word Identification Level B • Case 2




Fluency and Word Identification Level B • Case 3

background Student: Daniel

Age: 9.8

Grade: 4th

Focus: Fluency

scenario Daniel is a quiet fourth grader who is naturally organized and thrives on structure. Daniel’s

mother reports that he tends to be very focused on tasks, even in play. Daniel’s teacher, Mrs. Clifton, has also noticed that he is very diligent with academic tasks. When reading aloud in class, Daniel is able to read all sight words and decode most multi-syllable words he encounters. However, Daniel’s fluency is not at the level of most 4th graders. Mrs. Clifton reports he is a word-by-word reader and doesn’t read with proper tone or expression, but she feels he has the skills needed to become a fluent, expressive reader. She has decided to implement strategies that will help him reach his goal, which is:

• Given readings at the 4th grade level, Daniel will read fluently

possible strategies • Peer Tutoring • Repeated Readings

! assignMent 1. Read the Peer Tutoring and Repeated Readings STAR sheets. 2. Explain how each of the strategies will help Daniel with his fluency. 3. Select a 4th grade passage from a basal series and describe how you would have Daniel’s parents use it

at home.




background Student: Nathan

Age: 9.5

Grade: 4th

scenario Nathan is an active 4th grader who enjoys school. Nathan does well in the areas of science and

social studies when materials are read aloud and hands-on activities are implemented. However, Nathan has a difficult time in reading class. His teacher, Ms. Chekov reports that he has difficulty decoding unfamiliar words and is not able to read some sight words. As a result of these difficulties, Nathan reads approximately 55 words per minute. Ms. Chekov also states that Nathan’s positive attitude is beginning to decrease as the reading material becomes more difficult. Nathan’s parents are also seeing the decrease in his attitude and are willing to do whatever they can to assist Nathan. It is October and both Nathan’s teacher and parents would like to try different strategies to assist Nathan before referring him for testing. Nathan’s strengths are listed below.

areas oF strength • Accurately and quickly reads sight words through the 1st grade level • Accurately and quickly decodes one-syllable words • Listens and participates during reading class • Positive attitude in reading • Motivation to become a better reader

! assignMent 1. Develop 3 goals for Nathan. 2. Using the Overview of 3-5 Grade Word Identification and Fluency Skills (above) and the STAR

Sheets, select one strategy for each goal and explain the benefit of using the strategy to address the corresponding goal.

3. Select one goal and describe one hands-on activity that will assist Nathan in achieving the goal.

Fluency and Word Identification Level C • Case 1



The following word identification and fluency skills should be developed during 3rd-5th grade:

3 Reads 79-128 words at grade level per minute 3 Reads all sight words 3 Applies structural analysis skills to unfamiliar multi-syllable words



Fluency and Word Identification PEER TUTORING

What it is… Peer Tutoring is a strategy where children work together in a structured manner to practice teacher selected skills (Falk & Wehby, 2001; Hudson, Lignugaris-Kraft, & Miller, 1993). Peer tutoring formats include cross-age peer tutoring and class-wide peer tutoring.

What the research and resources say… • Peer tutoring can be effective when working with groups of students who have different instructional

levels (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1998; Mortweet, et al., 1999). • Peer tutoring provides increased focused instructional time that is linked to improvements in reading

skills (Foorman & Torgesen, 2001). • Peer tutoring increases the opportunities to practice skills (Mathes & Babyak, 2001). • Peer tutoring allows students to receive more feedback and encouragement from peers (Vaughn, Gersten,

& Chard, 2000). • Peer tutoring increases positive social contacts linked to improvements in social and behavioral skills for

students with emotional or behavioral disorders (Falk & Wehby, 2001). • Both tutors and tutees show gains in the academic area addressed during the peer tutoring session (Falk

& Wehby, 2001).

tips For iMpleMentation… The length of each peer tutoring session is up to the teacher, based on the students’ needs and available time. Fifteen to 25 minutes is a rough approximation of session length. Peer tutoring can be done 2 or more times per week, again based on students’ needs and available time. For a detailed description of one type of peer tutoring, PALS, go to:

Research-validated models of peer tutoring include certain essential components. These components include:

• Carefully pairing students based on an instructional rationale a. Cross-age peer tutoring:

– The older student tutors the younger student.

– Older students with reading deficits have shown increases in their own reading skills when they tutor younger students in reading.

– Teachers need to train, supervise and provide feedback to the tutor.

b. Class wide peer tutoring: – Fuchs & Fuchs (1998) described one method for pairing students. In the Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) model, teachers:


H What a star sheet is… A STAR (STrategies And Resources) Sheet provides you with a description of a well-researched strategy that can help you solve the case studies in this unit.




~ Rank order students in the class from the lowest to the highest reader. This can be done by using students’ existing scores on standardized reading tests or by using a standardized reading assessment available at your college or university library.

~ Divide the class into two groups – high performers and low performers.

~ Pair the students by matching the highest performer in the high group to the highest student in the low performance group. The second highest in the high group is matched to the second highest in the low group, and so forth until all students are matched.

~ Rank and match students in this way to ensure that, although at different skill levels, student pairs are not dramatically different in terms of their instructional needs.

~ When matching peer partners, keep in mind that the pair needs to work well together. Be flexible on the academic reasons for pairing to avoid creating pairs that have difficulty working with each other.

• Creating the right enviroment, effective peer tutoring does not occur naturally. A structured tutoring environment can be established by:

a. Designing a focused curriculum for student groups to follow that includes:

– Rules for interacting

– Structured tasks for the tutor to guide the tutee in completing

– Specific procedures for pairs to follow

– Methods for the tutor to provide corrective feedback for incorrect responses and positive reinforcement for correct responses

– Methods for documenting instruction and learning

b. Directly teach and reinforce the tutoring procedures by:

– Training students in the procedures

– Spreading training over several sessions

– Monitoring students as they implement the procedures

• Reinforcing the teaching/learning behaviors that occur during the session. Before beginning the peer-tutoring activity teachers should:

a. Develop a plan for encouraging and reinforcing desired behaviors

– In class wide peer-tutoring, dividing the pairs into teams and awarding points for following procedures, answering correctly, and interacting appropriately is one way of supporting desirable peer tutoring behavior.

b. Develop a plan for addressing off-task or disruptive behaviors.

types oF activities to iMpleMent… • Sight Words

Word Recognition: Students work in pairs with flash cards or word sheets to practice new sight words and review previously taught words. This practice can include individual words and phrases in isolation and in context.




• Blending/Segmenting Decoding: Students work in pairs with prefix/base word/suffix flash cards to build multi-syllable words or to segment new or previously taught multi-syllable words.

• Partner Reading Fluency: Students can read aloud to each other. Passages should be between 50 and 200 words and at the instructional level (90-100 percent word recognition) of the lowest student in the pair.

keep in Mind… • The purpose of peer tutoring should be to reinforce concepts or skills that have previously been taught. • Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of reciprocal tutoring in which the stronger student acts as a

tutor first and lower achieving student as the tutee. After correctly completing or responding, the lower achieving student then assumes the role of tutor.

• Tutors should be provided prompts of how to respond when the partner answers incorrectly (e.g., the tutor may be instructed to state the correct answer and then have the tutee restate the answer or the tutor may be provided a hint or a reminder statement to use when the tutee is having difficulty).

• One of the reasons peer tutoring is effective is the existence of a strong peer model, but research has shown that the most important element is the increased, focused instruction time that this one-on-one model fosters.

• Quality peer tutoring sessions are less dependent upon the high/low match than they are on the structure of what occurs during that tutoring session.

resources… Falk, K. B., & Wehby, J. H. (2001). The effects of peer-assisted learning strategies on the beginning

reading skills of young children with emotional or behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 26(4), 344-359.

Foorman, B. R., & Torgesen, J. (2001). Critical elements of classroom and small-group instruction promote reading success in all children. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 16(4), 203-212.

Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (1998). General educators’ instructional adaptations for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 21, 23-33.

Hudson, P., Lignugaris-Kraft, B., & Miller, T. (1993). Using content enhancements to improve the performance of adolescents with learning disabilities in content classes. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 8(4), 106-126.

Mathes, P.G., & Babyak, A.E. (2001). The effects of peer-assisted literacy strategies for first-grade readers with and without additional mini-skills lessons. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 16 (1), 28-44.

Mortweet, S. L., Utley, C. A., Walker, D., Dawson, H. L., Delqudri, J. C., Reddy, S. S., Greenwood, C. R., Hamilton, S., & Ledford, D. (1999). Classwide peer tutoring: Teaching students with mild mental retardation in inclusive classrooms. Exceptional Children, 65, 524-536.

Vaughn, S., Gersten, R., & Chard, D. J. (2000). The underlying message in LD intervention research: Findings from research syntheses. Exceptional Children, 67(1), 99-114.



Fluency and Word Identification INDEPENDENT PRACTICE

What it is… Independent practice activities allow students to rehearse skills that have previously been taught. A variety of activities fall under this strategy including: independent reading, games, and self-correcting materials (Bos & Vaughn, 2002).

What the research and resources say… • Children learn to read by practicing reading skills (Taylor, Harris, Pearson, & Garcia, 1995). • Games are motivational and provide opportunities for students to apply their reading skills to an

enjoyable activity (Taylor, Harris, Pearson, & Garcia, 1995). • Materials should be chosen at a level of difficulty such that students readily understand how to use them.

Typically, one or two demonstrations should be sufficient for students to learn how to use the materials (Mercer & Mercer, 2001).

• In a traditional classroom, students spend about two thirds of their reading instruction time away from their teacher working on independent activities (Ford & Optiz, 2002).

types oF activities to iMpleMent… • Independent Reading

Fluency: Students increase their reading skills by practicing reading. Independent reading is designed to encourage students to relate to books and practice previously taught reading skills. Some independent reading times scheduled for the entire class are given acronym names, e.g., DEAR for Drop Everything and Read.

• Games Word Identification: Games provide students with a fun and enjoyable way to practice skills they have already been taught. Games can be developed, purchased (e.g., theme-based Bingo), or adapted from commercial games (e.g., Chutes and Ladders™) to assist students in increasing their sight words. At each turn, a player correctly reads a sight word before moving ahead. Though often played with a partner or small group, these games are considered independent practice because they do not require interaction with the teacher for the students to learn from the activity.

• Self-correcting Materials Word Identification: Self-correcting materials provide the student with independent practice opportunities and immediate feedback. The materials can be of several forms including answer keys, puzzles, and matching cards. When a student makes a mistake using self-correcting materials, the student immediately is informed of the correct answer. Thus, the student is not “practicing incorrectly,” a common problem that occurs when a student completes an entire worksheet of practice problems incorrectly. Self-correcting materials also foster a “game-like” environment that students enjoy.


H What a star sheet is… A STAR (STrategies And Resources) Sheet provides you with a description of a well-researched strategy that can help you solve the case studies in this unit.




Mercer and Mercer (2001) provide specific recommendations for using self-correcting materials:

– Materials should be at a level of difficulty that students can readily understand how to use them. Typically, one or two demonstrations should be sufficient for students to learn how to use the materials.

– Vary the self-correcting materials in order to maintain student interest. Content can be frequently changed or different materials used in order to sustain student involvement.

– Although some “cheating” may occur in the beginning, many student will begin to enjoy “guessing and checking” more than beating the system.

The following are examples of self-correcting materials:

Answer Check Holes Create a folder with a paragraph that includes vocabulary words

written on the front. Make a hole in the folder where each vocabulary word should be.

Students can insert a piece of paper into the folder and write their responses in the holes.

The correct answers are written on the inside of the

folder next to the holes. To check his/her answers, the

student can remove the paper, invert the folder, put

the paper back in the folder, and verify the answer.

Puzzles Create flash cards in the shape of corresponding puzzle pieces. Use synonyms, antonyms, definitions, etc. as the information on the cards. Students can verify their answers by checking to see if the pieces match.




keep in Mind…

• Planning is important. Before implementing independent practice activities, take time to develop the activities as well as a schedule, routines for movement, and a behavioral management system.

• Teachers need to instruct students in how to use each activity and provide easy to understand directions for each activity.

• The teacher can use independent practice time to monitor individual student progress on specific skills. • Most parents are willing and want to help their child learn to read, but many do not know how to help.

Provide parents with information and activities that they can do at home. • Self-correcting materials will be used repeatedly, so they should be durable.

resources… Bos, C. S., & Vaughn, S. (2002). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems

(5th ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Ford, M. P., & Optiz, M. F. (2002). Using centers to engage children during guided reading time: Intensifying learning experiences away from the teacher. The Reading Teacher, 55(8), 710-717.

Mercer, C. D., & Mercer, C. A. (2001). Teaching students with learning problems (6th ed). New Jersey: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Taylor, B., Harris, L. A., Pearson, P. D., & Garcia, G. (1995). Reading difficulties: Instruction and assessment (2nd ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.






H What a star sheet is… A STAR (STrategies And Resources) Sheet provides you with a description of a well-researched strategy that can help you solve the case studies in this unit.

What it is… Decoding involves several strategies for identifying an unfamiliar word including using phonetic cues, context clues, and available resources.

What the research and resources say… • Students with structural analysis difficulties will struggle with reading materials at or above the 3rd

grade level (Shanker & Ekwall, 1998). • The use of structural analysis can assist students in lessening the number of mispronunciations,

substitutions, and omissions (Lenz & Hughes, 1990). • The inability to sound out unfamiliar words is a major factor in the poor comprehension skills of

students in upper elementary grades (Foorman, et al., 1997). • Students will master structural analysis skills only when modeled by teachers (Gaskins et. al., 1996). • Skill in decoding words assists students in developing spelling skills (Wilde, 1997).

types oF activities to iMpleMent…

• DISSECT is a mnemonic device used to assist students in decoding unfamiliar multi-syllable words: – Discover the context: use context to determine the unfamiliar word.

– Isolate the prefix: determine if there is a prefix that can be separated from the entire word.

– Separate the suffix: determine if there is a suffix that can be separated from the entire word.

– Say the stem: if you can say the stem (root word) after isolating the prefix and separating the suffix, say the root word, prefix, and suffix together.

– Examine the stem: If you cannot say the stem, apply one of these rules:

~ if the stem begins with a vowel, separate the first two letters and pronounce (e.g.,al•ter•nate).

~ if the stem begins with a consonant, separate the first three letters and pronounce (e.g., dis•cuss•ion).

~ if these rules do not work, isolate the first letter of the stem and try to apply the above rules again (e.g., o•pen•ing).

– Check with someone: If the above steps do not help, ask someone.

– Try the dictionary: Look up the word and use the pronunciation keys to pronounce.




• Syllabication is the process of decoding words by looking and recognizing chunks of words. Syllabication activities can be used in peer tutoring sessions, small group sessions, or independent practice sessions. The activities provide students with ample opportunities to practice their newly learned strategies. It is important that you check your students’ work to ensure they have completed the activities correctly. If corrective feedback is needed, it should be provided immediately.

– The six syllable types include:

~ Closed (CVC): ends in a least one consonant.

~ Open (CV): ends in a long vowel sound.

~ Vowel-Consonant-e (CVCe): ends in one consonant, one vowel, and a final e. The vowel is long, e is silent.

~ Vowel Team (CVVC): sounds of vowel teams vary.

~ R-controlled (CV+r): vowel is followed by /r/ and vowel pronunciation is affected by /r/.

~ Consonant-le (-C+le): unaccented final syllable with a consonant plus /l/ and silent e.

– Word Sorts require students to sort words according to patterns. For example students may sort words in the following way:


shut cute

bed lake

Students may also sort words by prefixes:

Pre- Re-

predawn redo

prepay replace


By using words sorts, the students will see how many words have the same patterns. Once they see the pattern, they should easily be able to read new words with the same pattern.

keep in Mind… • It is not necessary for students to know the meanings of the word parts to decode the word. • Students must master decoding skills such as sight words, phonics, and context clues prior to effectively

applying structural analysis skills. • Teachers must provide ample instruction in teaching students to decode multi-syllable words. • When students are able to quickly decode words, they are able to focus their attention on

comprehension, the major goal of reading. • There are many exceptions to the rules of syllabication and pronunciation and students must be taught

those exceptions (see Wilde, 1997).




resources… Foorman, B. R., Francis, D. J., Fletcher, J. M., Schatschneider, C., & Mehta, P. (1998). The role of

instruction in learning to read: Preventing reading failure in at-risk children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 1-15.

Gaskins, I., Ehri, L., Cress, C., O’Hara, C., & Donnely, K. (1996). Procedures for word learning: Making discoveries about words. The Reading Teacher, 50, 312-327.

Lenz, B. K., & Hughes, C. A. (1990). A word identification strategy for adolescents with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 149-158, 163.

Levy, S., Coleman, M., & Alsman, B. (2002). Reading instruction for elementary students with emotional/behavioral disorders: What’s a teacher to do? Beyond Behavior, 11(3), 3-10.

Shaker, J. L., & Ekwall, E. E. (1998). Locating and correcting reading difficulties (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Wilde, S. (1997). What’s a schwa sound anyway? Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.



Fluency and Word Identification Repeated Readings


H What a star sheet is… A STAR (STrategies And Resources) Sheet provides you with a description of a well-researched strategy that can help you solve the case studies in this unit.

What it is… Repeated Readings is a strategy that requires students to read and re-read short (50-200 words) passages until they reach an appropriate level of fluency.

What the research and resources say… • Students who are slow readers in the elementary years continue to have difficulty

during adolescence (Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashote, 1994). • Being a fluent reader allows students to focus on the meaning of reading (Samuels, 1997). • Fluent readers practice reading (Levy, Coleman, & Alsman, 2002). • The use of repeated readings increases fluency, accuracy, expression, and comprehension (Meyers &

Felton, 1999).

tips For iMpleMentation… • Use the following sequence when implementing the various typs of repeated readings: – The teacher selects a passage of 50-200 words written at the students’ independent reading or

instructional level (90-100% word recognition) that is of interest to the students. – Passages should be read by the teacher first, with an emphasis on voice, tone, and expression. – If students need assistance with words or phrases, students should practice them in isolation prior

to reading the passage. – Students read the passages 3-5 times. – Frequent sessions of 10-15 minutes are necessary. – Continue the process with new passage selections.

types oF activities to iMpleMent… • Partner Reading: Paired students take turns reading the selected passage to one another, assisting one

another as needed. • Readers’ Theater: Students enjoy acting out stories they read. Repeated readings can be implemented

as students practice reading their parts with partners or in small groups. The students can then act out the story for the rest of the class or for their parents (Levy et al., 2002).

• Choral Reading: In this activity, the teacher divides the text into sections so that either the teacher and students alternate reading every other section or groups of students alternate reading every other section. Often alternating regular and boldfaced text identifies the sections of text.

• Reading Performance: For students at the upper elementary level, repeated readings with a purpose can




be arranged by having the students read aloud to classes of younger students.

keep in Mind… • Students must practice at their instructional or independent reading levels. • Hasbrouck & Tindal (1992) provide the following suggestions for the number of words students should

read per minute:

2nd grade: 53-94 3rd grade: 79-114 4th grade: 99-118 5th grade: 105-128

resources… Hasbrouck, J. E., & Tindal, G. (1992). Curriculum-based oral reading fluency norms for students in

grades 2 through 5. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 24(3), 41-44.

Meyer, M. S., & Felton, R. H. (1999). Repeated reading to enhance fluency: Old approaches and new directions. Annals of Dyslexia, 49, 283-306.

Samuels, S. J. (1997). The method of repeated reading. The Reading Teacher, 50, 376-381.

Shanker, J. L., & Ekwall, E. E. (1998). Locating and correcting reading difficulties (7th ed.). Upper Saddle river, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Torgesen, J. K., Wagner, R. K., & Rashotte, C. A. (1994). Longitudinal students of phonological processing and reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities 19, 623-630.

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