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Strategies and Lessons for Improving Basic Early Literacy Skills

Strategies and Lessons for Improving Basic Early Literacy Skills

March 2008 | 232 pages | Corwin
This practical, hands-on guide shows teachers how to use research-proven strategies and structured lessons to teach basic early reading skills. The authors provide an extensive array of lessons, strategies, tips, and supplementary materials to help educators strengthen students' skills in areas identified by the popular assessment system DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills).

Elementary school teachers can use DIBELS to quickly assess the critical skills underlying early reading success:

Letter naming fluency

Initial sound fluency

Phoneme segmentation fluency

Nonsense word fluency

Oral reading fluency

The materials are designed for students with any type of reading difficulty, including students with learning disabilities, but are equally appropriate for students of any ability level.

About the Authors
1. Introduction
Organizational Framework

Using Assessment to Inform Instruction

Incorporating Basic Early Literacy Skills (BELS) Into the Literacy Block

Teaching Effectively

Early Literacy Instruction in Perspective

Building Early Literacy Skills

2. Letter Naming Fluency
Activity 1: Distinguishing Between Letters and Non-Letters

Activity 2a: Distinguishing Letter Forms (Tall Letters)

Activity 2b: Distinguishing Letter Forms (Short Circular Letters)

Activity 2c: Distinguishing Letter Forms (Short Stick Letters)

Activity 2d: Distinguishing Letter Forms (Short Hump Letters)

Activity 2e: Distinguishing Letter Forms (Hanging Letters)

Activity 3: Distinguishing Same and Different Letters

Activity 4a: Distinguishing Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

Activity 4b: Distinguishing Uppercase and Lowercase Letters (Using American Sign Language)

Activity 4c: Distinguishing Uppercase and Lowercase Letters (Using Sense of Touch)

Activity 5: Distinguishing Letters/Sounds (Using Sense of Touch)

3. Initial Sound Fluency
Activity 6a: Silly Sentence s—Part 1

Activity 6b: Silly Sentences—Part 2

Activity 7: Picture/Sound Charts

Activity 8a: Letter/Sound Books—Part 1

Activity 8b: Letter/Sound Books—Part 2

Activity 9: Sound Collages

Activity 10: Sound Identification Game

Activity 11: Picture/Sound Identification Game

4. Phoneme Segmentation Fluency
Activity 12: “Stretching” Sounds in Words

Activity 13a: Elkonin Boxes—Identifying Sounds with Fingers

Activity 13b: Elkonin Boxes—Pushing Sounds

Activity 13c: Elkonin Boxes—Sound Boxes

Activity 13d: Elkonin Boxes—Transition Boxes

Activity 13e: Elkonin Boxes—Letter Boxes

5. Nonsense Word Fluency
Activity 14: Distinguishing Letters/Sounds (Using Sense of Touch)

Activity 15a: Sound/Letter BINGO

Activity 15b: Letter/Sound BINGO

Activity 16: Sound Identification Game

Activity 17: Making and Breaking using Magnetic Letters

Activity 18a: Blending (VC)

Activity 18b: Blending (CVC)

Activity 19: Sorting Beginning Consonant Sounds

Activity 20: Sound Line

Activity 21: Word Wheels

Activity 22: Flip Books

Activity 23: Slide-a-Word

Activity 24: Word Scramble

Activity 25: Word Maker

Activity 26: Roll The Dice

Activity 27: Match!

Activity 28: Ringo!

Activity 29: Go Fish

6. Oral Reading Fluency
Activity 30a: Reading Punctuation

Activity 30b: Reading Punctuation: Period, Exclamation Point, Question Mark

Activity 31: Reading Text in Phrases to Promote Fluency

Activity 32: Reading Fine and Bold Printed Text as Author Intended

Activity 3: Reading fine and bold printed text as author intended

Activity 33: Reading Dialogue

References and Resources

"The lessons build on one another and are clearly sequenced from teacher-led instruction to group instruction to independent practice. This is a great resource for schools that use DIBELS as their assessment, because it is so closely aligned with the same targeted skills. Readers will find suggested accountability and differentiated instruction ideas right at their fingertips. It is hard to find books targeted to the early grades, and this one covers many areas important to the K-3 educator."

Tanya Phaturos, Reading Specialist
Park Elementary School, Holbrook, AZ

"Emphasizes practical activities presented in a consistent format that can be used with students to enhance their literacy development."

Wanda Mangum, Language Arts Instructional Coach
Gwinnett County Public Schools, GA

"A teacher could pick up this book and immediately use the activities to help children improve. There is differentiation for each activity, ensuring that this book can be used successfully in the classroom."

Jessie Fries-Kraemer, Literacy Teacher
Eubank Elementary School, Albuquerque, NM

Sample Materials & Chapters


Bob Algozzine

Bob Algozzine is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina and project codirector of the U.S. Department of Education-supported Behavior and Reading Improvement Center. With 25 years of research experience and extensive firsthand knowledge of teaching students classified as seriously emotionally disturbed, Algozzine is a uniquely qualified staff developer, conference speaker, and teacher of behavior management and effective teaching courses. He is active in special education practice as a partner and collaborator with professionals in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in North Carolina and... More About Author

Mary Beth Marr

Mary Beth Marr is an associate professor in education at Meredith College, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy education. She previously served as a research associate with the Behavior and Reading Improvement Center at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Marr, whose research interests focus on early literacy and struggling readers, received her doctorate in reading education from the University of Minnesota. More About Author

Tina A. McClanahan

Tina McClanahan has worked for the Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) system since her graduation from West Virginia State College. During her time with CMS she has held the positions of classroom teacher, literacy teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, K–2 literacy facilitator, and is currently a Pre–K literacy facilitator. McClanahan has also worked for the Behavior and Reading Improvement Center at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a Center Support Coordinating teacher and received national board status as an Early Childhood Generalist (ECGEN) in 2001. More About Author

Emma McGee Barnes

Emme Barnes is a literacy facilitator in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System working with teachers, students, and parents to develop literacy skills in elementary students. She has taught first and second grade classes in Title One, large suburban schools, and at The American School of Madrid. Barnes is on the advisory board for Reach Out and Read Charlotte and is a past recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Charlotteans Award given by the Charlotte Jaycees for her work with literacy in the community. She earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master of... More About Author

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