Thursday, July 13, 2017

Goals 3 and 4 - The Reading Strategies Book Study

Happy Friday!

Is that day as exciting in the summer? I'm not sure... ;-)

Yesterday, I took a quick trip to the Mercantile with a friend of mine. We attempted to stop at a water fall near Dexter, Kansas (my dad's hometown) on our way. No water! But we did squeeze a stop in to Henry's Candy Co. The Mercantile food once again did not disappoint, and this time I came away with a new favorite coffee drink - The Spicy Cowgirl. Cayenne pepper in my iced mocha coffee...YUMMO!

Okay, on to the book study!

Thanks for joining us again for this week's study. If you are playing catch up, no worries. Here's links to the first two posts:

This week's we are focusing on Goals 3 and 4, so let's get started.

Serravallo explains, "In order to construct accurate meaning from a text, children need to read words correctly, integrating three sources of information: meaning, syntax, and visual." She goes on to explain the importance of students learning to self-monitor their own reading. In my classroom, early in the school year I teach a variation of this cross-checking and have actions to go along with it (I think it is actually from Daily 5 or CAFE).

Here it is... (dork alert :-))

3.3 Use a Word You Know

I love this strategy and use it all the time. My teaching experience thus far has only been in 1st and 2nd grade, and I feel like we have to do a pretty good job of teaching word parts, phonics patterns, and word families. 

If you've ever visited our TPT store, you will see that Kristi and I have TONS of games for specific sounds. We've been blessed to teach in districts that provide our curriculum, and we like to use the games as a fun way to reinforce the sounds and word parts we are teaching each week. 

3.15 Take the Ending Off

Another one of my go-to strategies. I think sometimes our littles are overwhelmed at the sight of a "huge" word and it just stops them in their tracks. When you encourage them to cover up the ending, they will often recognize the base word or feel more confident attempting to decode the part that is left.

3.21 Look for Vowels that Go Together

At our school, we use a reading program called Pathways to Reading.  It teaches the kids to "Spot the Vowel." I like to start out doing this with a list of words on paper...actually highlighting the vowels or putting dots under them. If they see a vowel team, they connect the dots or highlight them together. Eventually, this transfers into one of my prompts as they are reading. I'll simply say, "Spot your vowel," and they know to read the vowel sound, then the word.

P.S. I was pretty excited to see so many familiar strategies in this goal section (even going by a different name). It was hard to choose my favorites!

Oh, fluency! 

I love how Serravallo reminds us that, "It's important in our attempts to teach children to read fluently, we don't send the message that reading is just about performing."

While I agreed with what she had to say about the dreaded stopwatch, I don't see how we can avoid it when most districts are doing some type of timed testing (we use AimsWeb). I actually like to do cold reads/hot reads because it gets my kids used to being timed and they get excited about their improvement (see more about that here).

However, I was intrigued by her method of recording phrasing and expressive reading. Definitely something I want to know more about!

4.5 Say Good-Bye to Robot Reading

Now this is a strategy that I wish someone would have told me about years ago! 

I actually stumbled into a variation of it on my own. I had a group that was struggling with fluency, and I was trying to make them understand what I meant by phrasing. We were practicing with sentences on a piece of paper and I started drawing "hops" to show them how they sounded compared to "hops" when I read the same sentence.

Love the idea of "scooping" up a few words at a time. I think it will make the idea stick with my kids even better than "hops."

4.14 Get Your Eyes Ahead of the Words

This is another strategy that I know as a reader I do, but it was always difficult to explain. I LOVE the graphic on this page. So simple, yet shows what I've tried teaching my kiddos!

The Reading Strategies Book pg. 121

4.19 Snap to the Next Line

I fell in love with this one right away! 

There is always some precious kiddo in my class who struggles with this concept. I think the idea of "snapping your eyes" to the next line will really help them understand how to keep reading through the line break. 


Those are a few of my favorite strategies. 

I want to hear from you! Tell me about your favorites either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Don't forget to check out the other blog posts below for more thoughts and ideas!


  1. Hey, Crystal! I also liked Spot the Vowel strategy. It really does help students to recognize the vowels that go together instead of trying to read them separately. Plus allowing them to make the connection in text is huge!

  2. Yay for a video! Great job. And, oh how I love that shirt! :)

    1. Thanks, Whitney! I'm getting a little more relaxed in front of the camera this summer since I'm leading my Bible study online. I still feel like a complete dork, but I guess I've realized it doesn't really matter! ;-)

      P.S. My shirt is from Ranchin' Misfits (Facebook boutique).

  3. There were so many great strategies in these chapters, and many of them in goal 3 I have used. I liked 3.5-Be a coach to your partner. This is one I'd like to teach them the first week of school. 3.6-Try try Again had a great chart, as did 3.17-Flexible Sounds.
    In Goal 4, 4.3 had another great chart, 4.10 and 4.19 could be introduced whole group while I'm doing the basal lesson, and 4.12 and 4.15 would make great centers once they were taught.

    1. Loved the Be a Coach to Your Partner as well. It gave me ideas to add to what I already teach when introducing Read to Someone. Partners are trained to wait 3 seconds then ask "Coaching or Time?" If and when the partner needs coaching, they "Tip, Tip, Tell" by giving two hints, such as "Spot your vowel" or "Flip the sound." After two hints, the partner can tell them the word.

      I absolutely love all the charts and visuals too (as you said about 4.3).

      Thanks for joining the discussion!

  4. On a personal note, I also liked your shirt, Crystal. One of our teachers unexpectedly passed away last week, and in dealing with the grief, I appreciate your shirt as a good reminder. <3

    I also noted the idea of "scooping" (4.5) as something I'd like to try with struggling readers. Word study, phonics, and grammar are all very near and dear to my heart, so I was glad to see Serravallo seamlessly tying those in to her reading strategies in Goal 3.

    Most of the Goal 4 strategies looked familiar to me, as I incorporate many of them in my classroom. This book, though, gives me more intentional wording to help my students in particular situations, such as the "scooping" I mentioned earlier.

    1. Oh, Melissa. I'm so sorry to hear about your coworker. I will be praying for you! It is one of my favorite hymns--especially knowing the circumstances surrounding when it was written. Amazing!

      I agree with you about the intentional wording--she gives us lots of great prompts too!

      Thanks for participating!


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